Friday, June 27, 2014

Speech Delay Again

We had Cooper's speech evaluation from the school district, and it was kind of a mess.

We told the evaluator when we first met her that Cooper understood everything we said to him but was a very reticent communicator with people he doesn't know, that he is shy, and that it takes him awhile to warm up to people.

She assured us that she would spend 3 hours with us spread over 3 separate visits to get everything she needed.

Imagine our surprise when she closed up her bag of random objects that she was holding up for him to name 24 minutes into her first visit and said the evaluation was over and he would clearly qualify.  Then she looked at him, pouted, and said in a baby voice, "He can barely make any sounds, huh?" with a pitying inflection.

I was SHOCKED and heartbroken (not that he qualified for services-- the kid is 2.5 and rapidly being surpassed by his chatty baby sister) and then angry.  His poor feelings!  He looked so crushed!  He was talking so much!

Little Cooper was TRYING SO HARD.  It is not his thing to talk to a stranger, and as I explained to you guys AND TO HER, he has never been a kid who parrots back anything.  But there he was saying airplane! and horse! and whinnying like a horse unprompted! He didn't know what a yo yo was, but he tried to say it (she looked at us like we were idiots when I said hes never seen one before).  She was also stunned that he could not name a wind-up miniature music box, which WTF?  The kicker was when she held up a plastic spoon an fork and said "What are these?  Which one will you say first?"

And Cooper replied clearly "First."

The she said in a high-pitched voice, "Okay, now say the other one," and then in a slightly lower pitch she asked me "Which one did he just say?"

"First," I told her flatly, "He said first."

She made a little huh sound as if she had no idea why he would respond so inappropriately, forgetting, I guess, that she had JUST SAID "say first."

Then she said the stuff about the eval being over and him not having any sounds.

I protested her quick decision and said he actually talks much more but he's just warming up, and she told me she has been around the block and knows when a kid is going to qualify.  I just GAPED.

She said we could either have in-home services once a week starting when he turns 3, or he could come to a drop-off articulation class at a nearby school.  Then she asked if he was potty-trained, and I said no.  She made a really surprised and also pitying moue and said "Oh, how close is he?"

"We haven't started," I told her.

She clucked her tongue at me.


Potty training is not a developmental milestone-- it's a parenting philosophy.  Me and Ben = lazy parents.  We always potty train between 2.5 and 3.  In fact, Cooper has been initiating successful trips to the potty lately, and we always ask him if he wants to sit on the potty, and we have SO MANY POTTY BOOKS.  My point is, STOP JUDGING ME, LADY.  His toilet habits are not only totally normal, they are also totally NONE OF YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS.

But I didn't say that.  I just told her that I am concerned about his preschool transition because he is so shy and I thought in-home services would be best.  But I didn't say this in front of Cooper because I am not an asshole who hurts babies' (I assume this is not the first evaluation she has handled with shocking rudeness) feelings.

Ben called the director the program and explained how terrible things were, making it clear that we are thrilled to have services-- we are not protesting the labeling of our snowflake, but we hate how the evaluation went.

Then, awkward sauce, I got a call while feeding Dorothy dinner at Whole Foods (well, sitting with her while she ate and having a salad snack-- having dinner with Dorothy, I guess is how I should say it) and I answered it thinking it was a student, but it was the evaluator calling to say her boss wants her to wipe the slate clean and start the evaluation process from scratch.  Erm.  Who does that help?

Ben and I are working on how to handle it. Do we have her come back?  Just meet her for the IEP like she wanted initially?  IDK.

My mom suggested that before she comes in this time, I need to remind her that Cooper understands what she says and tell her she can't come into his house and hurt his feelings again.  I think this a good call.

I talked to Cooper's doctor and got another speech path referral, too, and we are going to pursue private options if we need to before his district services start.

The bottom line is that we want services OF COURSE.  But this evaluation was terrible.

I'd like to find a way to wrap this up, but I am at the library and still need to go to target before putting Dorothy down for her nap, so


  1. Anonymous11:57 AM

    There are some insensitive people , crazy ones out there .
    I had a terrible experience with a ST when my daughter was 3 , she tried to ruin my daughter's chances of getting into sp-ed ,by turning up uninvited and talking nonsense about me .
    My daughter is a former micro -preemie ,so I do help her a LOT ,so she made it out to be my fault that Bella was not talking ,but the sp-ed coordinator shut her up:-))))
    -usual anony

  2. Anonymous1:44 PM

    I would call the supervisor again and request another person to do the eval. You shouldn't have to put up with your child being treated like that to get services.

  3. Do not just go to IEP meeting. You need the full evaluation so that the goals are appropriate. It sounds to me like more of a play therapy session would be a better fit, either in home or in a small group, would be best. He is not going to simply parrot articulation sounds. Even the evaluation should feel like he has a new friend to play with not like he's being interrogated or told to parrot.

    I agree that getting the services will be important but the evaluation needs to be accurate and that takes multiple visits to get the complete picture. They should never discuss results in front of a child this age.

    Good luck.

  4. I agree that regardless of whether he qualifies, the way that all went down is appalling. If you decide he needs another evaluation, I'd definitely request (politely demand) a different person do it. But I also wonder if it would be worth putting Cooper through it? I mean, if YOU expect him to qualify, then maybe it's more important to just make sure that the person who works with him on a regular basis at your home is not a douche-bag (pardon my French).

  5. Anonymous12:06 AM

    I tried to comment on your last post but my phone ate it and now i HAVE to share - my son N is just a few days younger than Cooper and has almost exactly the same speech delays. I had him evaluated at 20 months and had a really odd, scary eval too where they put him down with significant delays in all areas (cognitive, social, speech). The birth-to-3 program totally botched it so we had a developmental neurologist do a full medical eval a few months later. We've now been in a great birth-to-3 program since January and N is making some progress, but it isn't magical. He's 'caught up' in all areas but some expressive speech. It seems so much like Cooper's situation, down to not knowing the names of objects in the dumb eval tests. N likes function words over nouns, talks only when he wants too, and many words are odd (awa for water, ta for my brother mike) but he has a language, he communicates, and he's adding new vocabulary. I figure that since he'll start school late with a Sept birthday, we have an extra year to work on all of this. We're also in the school district transition phase, so I feel you on that stuff. My advice, go with your instincts--trust your kid and advocate for getting the right kind of support. If the eval meeting says he qualifies, and you want him to qualify, then maybe just start services. In my area, eval doesn't do much except get him in the door and start the funding paperwork. For the IEP, make sure he gets a full playdate and gets the services you want. Sorry for the novel, this just really resonates with me!!

  6. I cannot imagine how angry you were. I'M ANGRY!!! Judgy McJudgerson needs a lesson on tact and professionalism.

  7. You've received a lot of strong advice here, and I have nothing to add. But I did want to share how ANGRY it made me to read about how C was treated! I hope you will request someone else for your supplementary meeting. Her supervisor definitely needs to know so that she won't go around thinking hurting babies and trying to shame families is normal and without consequences.

    I have the feeling that C will do well long term. As one of the youngest, his older sibs may just be anticipating his needs so much he doesn't have to exert himself? xx

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  9. OMG, that is AWFUL. I agree with getting a new evaluator. James had a great evaluator and he was STILL exhausted at the end. Poor Cooper! You need someone who, I don't know, is capable of treating children like humans.

  10. I am so sorry that this has been such a negative process. Your mom is absolutely right, if that lady comes back, set boundaries. I also agree with asking for a new evaluator since her previous evaluation will cloud this one.

    But, mainly, I want to tell you that you guys rock at parenting. All she needs to do is open her eyes, forget what might be lack of parenting she may see regularly, and realize that you all are not morons, new to parenting, or need to be judged. You have a kiddo with a need that can be met. I truly hope you meet some professionals who can be of competent service. (The potty training comment would have pushed me over to bitch mode. Every kid is different, and unless she's volunteering to do it herself, she should have kept her trap shut.)

  11. I just need to tell you that my heart is breaking for you and Cooper. I can't even IMAGINE how angry you and Ben were. I'd never let that woman back into my home let alone near my son. We had lots of early intervention stuff with Riley and I was a wreak. If someone had looked at me funny or said anything other than kind and informed things about my son I think I'd have fallen apart on the spot. I can't imagine what she was thinking and I'm sure you guys will figure this out. Advocate for your kid, yourself and your family. If it feels wrong, it is! Ugh!