Reply To: 7 year old daughter newly diagnosed. I'm overwhelmed and need help.

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Your situation sounds very similar to mine 6 years ago. My now 12 year old son was diagnosed at age 3 with a Speech and Language Delay, so he entered Kdg. already having an IEP in place but at the transition IEP, pre school into kdg, they were wanting to lower his therapy to 30 minutes/week – 15 minutes twice a week, at the time he was receiving 120 minutes a week. Since I had been through this process before with my older 3 children I stood my ground and kept pushing and they did end of “giving in” and he was to receive 90 minutes/week – honestly this was only after I stated that I would be taking him out of school then 2 times a week for private speech therapy if they could not improve on the 30 minutes.
Over the next year I saw my son struggling, at home he would do okay going over homework with me or redoing something he rushed through at school, but it got me thinking and asking myself why was he “getting it” when it was just him and I working together. I realized at home he was able to ask me the questions he had about the directions he wasn’t understanding right away. Where in class there wasn’t the time for the teacher to sit down with just him and help him understand exactly what was expected on each assignment. And when I really thought about this and it hit me like a ton of bricks, his diagnosis of R/E Language was playing the factor in the class setting. He could read or hear the directions over and over but because of his diagnosis he needed help understanding or breaking down the words so he could complete the assignments. I brought this up with his Speech Pathologist and his IEP was modified to receive that extra help. Fast forward 5 years and we were on our way into middle school and the dreaded transitional IEP was looming. I was nervous because I’d heard stories of how hard it could be to get the help he needed as a middle schooler. The day came and my fears came true – his grades were on track and the new teachers (whom only knew him on paper) thought it didn’t look like he needed all the help. I explained to them the reason he was doing so well was because of the extra help. Mid meeting they were agreeing to have him put into Class within a Class settings for English, Science and Social Studies…not Math because his diagnosis was Language based. Again I dug my heels in and tried explaining that Math has to do with language just as much as anything else. You have the directions that express to you how to solve a problem…there are word problems…and with the “new” math that is being taught you sometimes have to write sentences about how you got the answer to a problem. He did get in the CWC math class but his elementary speech therapist had to reword a few things to make that happen.

These IEP meetings can be very intimidating – the language used is not in layman terms and the amount of educators sitting in the meeting with you is overwhelming. I have been fortunate that things have worked out over the years in my sons favor but if you’re doing everything you can in these meetings for your daughter(and I know you are) I highly recommend bringing an advocate with you to the next IEP. I look at these meetings like this – We’re signing a legal document to improve and help are children be the best they can be with possibly zero to little educational background in Speech Pathology or the Legal Field, so having someone there that knows the laws and understands what your wanting before going into the meeting is a huge PLUS!

I apologize for how long this ended up being but I wanted you to know it can be done. Insist on the extra testing by the district and if they refuse find a way to get private testing done. I hope all goes well and the outcome you are looking for is achieved. Good luck!!