Well, it's been a busy few weeks at the Hale Mele Academy! We had P evaluated by the speech therapy department at the local Army hospital who reported to us that he is about a year developmentally delayed in ALL AREAS. Are these people eager to label my kids, or what? She asked me at the end of the evaluation if P's behavior during the evaluation was typical, and I answered yes, as in: "Yes, it is very typical of P to run around in circles laughing at himself instead of sitting quietly and cooperatively." Really, she should have asked, "Does P actually know how to do these activities/say these words/follow my directions but he's just too busy being a 2-year-old to be bothered?" Then I could have answered her appropriately. She referred P to the Developmental Pediatrician (the one whom M was already slated to see) as well.
Yesterday we spent the entire morning at the Army hospital with the Developmental Pediatrician. He was a nice man who managed to get my little people to cooperate with all sorts of procedures. He agreed with me that P is developmentally normal with the exception of some distorted speech patterns. I was pretty proud watching my little guy sitting there putting together all these puzzles and stacking blocks and things. But it was pretty painful to watch when it was M's turn. Dr. C had some pretty simple drawings (horizontal lines, vertical lines, and circles) that M was supposed to replicate, but she just couldn't do it. I wanted to help her so much, "Look, M! See the direction the line is going? Can you do it that way?" But I was a good m.o.p. (mother-of-patient) and didn't interfere with the testing process. I talked to him about some of the learning challenges we saw in M, and ways we've been able to help her learn. He recognizes they both need speech therapy, of course, but he thinks it's very likely that M will catch up with her peers in time-provided we take the responsibility for helping her meet those educational milestones either at home or at a preschool. I have actually been amazed at her progress just this last month. In the past we've worked with her regularly, but haven't really pushed the issue because we knew she was a slow learner and didn't want to cause her frustration. This month we were determined that M would finally learn her colors, so we worked on it in every way we could think of every chance we got. Not only did she learn her colors this month, but her shapes, too! So we're feeling optimistic all around. We're to follow-up with Dr. C in 6 months.
We're still in quite a conundrum regarding speech therapy. Our insurance company will not pay for speech therapy services since the schools offer services for free. The school district here says that their special education services are only for public school students, not for homeschoolers or private schoolers. And we've already discussed why we don't want to send M to preschool. I'm planning on scheduling a meeting with the special services coordinator at the school, but I would like to wait and hear back from the special needs coordinator with the Home School Legal Defense Association first.
In the meantime, our family is soaking up the gorgeous Hawaiian weather. R is out kayaking to an offshore island with her dad for a picnic today. A just got back from a trip to Colorado with his Dad and P, and is now wandering around the house because he has "nothing to do". It's nap time for all the little people in the house, and I am catching up on my never-ending to-do list today.