To start with, she really only started talking recently, and what she does say is unintelligible. She's had two developmental evaluations. The first was done a year ago, and it showed her to be behind on cognitive skills, fine and gross motor skills, and expressive and receptive language. The second was done in December, and it showed pretty much the same results. Her IQ was measured to be 74. An IQ of 100 is considered average, anything below 70 is considered mentally retarded, so M's IQ is considered "borderline."
We had her evaluated through the school district, because this seemed more convenient at the time than driving across the island to Honolulu. Because M qualifies for special education services, we now are feeling pressure from the local school district to enroll her in their Early Intervention Program, which would entail sending M to school on a bus every day (although we could arrange to drive her) for her special preschool program which lasts ALL DAY LONG. To be honest, I can barely imagine sending my 11 year old away all day, much less my 3 year old! I know other people do it and don't have a problem with it, but it just grieves my heart to think about. M is part of our family, and we feel she belongs with us. We know she needs therapy, but we're not willing to send her away all day, every day to get it as long as we can find alternatives.
We've talked with many other families who all say the same thing: the "intervention" done at the school takes less than an hour a week, the rest of the time is just crafts and stories, which we do regularly at home anyway. And I don't understand how being in a room all day with a group of other children who don't talk will really help M's speech skills blossom, when there is much more normal chatter here at home.
Hubby and I have been looking into alternatives, but it seems we just keep running into brick walls. We just keep getting told that it's the school district's responsibility to help her with these issues. I don't understand this. When my 9-year-old needed speech therapy, the school district didn't have to be involved. Is this just a Hawaiian thing?
In the meantime, we've been referred to a developmental pediatrician, who is supposed to make a prognosis for M's future (I'm optimistic, but still not really sure I really want to know?), and may be able to help direct us to some local resources. Unfortunately, they won't be able to squeeze us in until March.
And as odd as it sounds, my ray of hope right now is that P (who mimics M's distorted speech) will qualify for speech therapy as well, because therapists come to your house if you're 2! Then perhaps we can convince the therapist/her supervisor/the powers that be to treat M at home as well, since it would be more convenient for all parties.
Lastly, an update on M just wouldn't be an update without at least briefly mentioning her intestinal issues. Little Miss M has suffered from constipation pretty much since she started solid foods in her infancy. It has been horrible, with lots of pain, discomfort, bleeding, trips to the ER... She was recently seen by a gastroenterologist who pretty much just told us to keep upping her dose of Miralax, which I think is pretty much standard nowdays for allopathic physicians (sorry, medical friends/relatives of mine). Instead of trying to find the cause, they just medicate the symptoms. So in an attempt to help heal our little sweetie-pie, we started her on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)/Gut and Psychology Syndrome diet (GAPS), which is complicated and time-consming to explain, and with nap time almost over, I'll have to save it for another post.