Friday, 6 January 2012

Speech Assessment

This morning we finally had our appointment to be assessed by a speech pathologist.  It had been a long wait.  7 months to be exact and not to mention copious amounts of bagging to my family doctor to actually do the referral.  In retrospect, it was probably the most worthwhile bagging I have ever done.
Finley co-operated very well but the end results were not good.  Devastating would be a good way to describe it.  There are three areas that you get scored on:
Receptive Language (Understanding words, sentences and conversation)
Expressive Language (saying words and sentences to communicate)
Speech Sounds
Finley was scored the following:
Mild Delay in receptive, Moderate Delay in Expressive and Severe in Speech sounds.
I was devastated.  I felt like a failure, like somehow I messed up in the last few years.  Did she watch one too many episodes of Mickey Mouse?  Did we not play enough puzzles, not enough play with other kids her age?  It took every ounce of strength I had not to cry in the little room.  But trust me, the tears started flowing as soon as we reached the parking lot, all the way home in the car and into the house.  I cried for a good hour. 
Because of the severity of her delays, Finley qualified for government funding to attend a specialized program to receive speech language services so I was given 2 options: put her in a specialized preschool immediately or wait until the fall to put her in and come to therapy between now and then.  I chose the immediate enrolment of preschool because this is something I was really concerned about. 
Funding is available for kids 2.5 – 6 years of age or the end of kindergarten and is provided by Alberta Education.  Each year Finley has to re-qualify. So the testing today qualifies her for this term and then she will be re-tested again in March to see if she qualifies for next year.  So I have to register for both this pre-school and our community pre-school because I don’t know what she will test at although I have a strong feeling she will be at this school in the fall.
I was given 4 pages of places that I could call to see if they could get Finley in immediately.  Of the 4 pages, only 4 were anywhere close to where I live and they all had waiting lists.  Finally, I got her into a school on Macleod Trail + 50th Ave.  It’s a bit of a drive but it will be worth it.  We had Finley’s report sent to her and now we just have to wait for the Government to decide if she will go 3 times a week or 5 times a week.  If they decide only 3 days a week then I will enroll Finley in a regular pre-school as well.  I go for a tour of the facility on Wednesday and will have more information then.
Finley can say all of her sounds that are required for her age category but she skips syllables and leaves off the endings of words which is why she scored as severe.  She says soa instead of soap, gilk, Gickey, Mimmi for Milk, Mickey + Minnie.  When you ask her questions about her day, she doesn’t answer with specifics which is why she is moderately delayed and she is mildly delayed in receptive because she didn’t focus properly on the flash cards she was looking at. 
Don’t get me wrong.  I knew she wasn’t where she should be or at the same level as the kids her age.  I knew that.  I really did and I certainly was never in denial about it.  I honestly didn’t believe that the word “severe” would be used to describe her delay.  I really didn’t.  But I still believe that Finley is smart but perhaps lazy.  Greg has said himself that he was a lazy kid and even continued to be lazy throughout all levels of school so perhaps she comes by it honestly.  We will continue to work at it at home as well as to make sure she gets all the help she needs from her new pre-school.  I will do everything I possibly can to ensure that this does not get in the way of anything she wishes to do as she gets older.
So as you can tell, I had a really crappy day.  Greg came home with sushi from our favorite sushi place for supper which helped a lot and I found a cupcake maker online that I saw on The Price Is Right last night that I just have to have even if Greg does think it’s just a gimmick.  Anyways, I will post more information after I tour the place on Wednesday.  Fingers crossed Finley likes it and the funding goes according to plan.

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