Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Be Your Child's Advocate

Now, full disclosure, I am a teacher.  I have been for 15 years (dang, when did I get old?) But, I have been a mom for 12 of those years.  I am not saying that you should always take your child at full face value.  There are details that kids often hide to keep from getting into trouble.  But, you know how YOU know there is something wrong with your kids, but no one will listen to you, that is what I am talking about.  Be the squeaky wheel.

Our Kindgartener is in Speech.  That was quite a task to get to where we are.  In K3, they declined services and told us there was nothing wrong with her speech, she was young.  Ummm, yeah about that, I am her MOM and I was having a hard time understanding her, 50-60% of the time, out of context.  I should be able to translate FOR other people.  But, when she came running into the room, telling me about something that I could not look at to see what she was referring to, I struggled.  I needed a translator. I could understand her 2 year-old sister more clearly most times.  J and I both sat in that meeting with our jaws wide open.  Really?  He was an elementary teacher. <sigh> So, we switched her to Daddy's school for K4.  D had my childhood babysitter as her teacher and a wonderful speech teacher, she was receiving services by Thanksgiving.  That is AMAZING considering how long it takes to go from referral to services in the public schools.  And the difference was noted.

Come this year, she started at the private school I teach at.  We do not provide the services, they come from the public schools. I sent her IEP in on the 2nd day, hoping to avoid it getting lost in the first day of school chaos.  Six weeks later, several phone calls to the school (remember, I teacher in the other building) no speech services and you could hear her slipping back.  So, I took things in my own hands, contacted the head of Speech and Language, explained the situation, we had a quick meeting that following Friday and services began.  Now she is doing beautifully.  Squeak, squeak.

I have friends, in real life and in Facebook.  That have concerns about their kids and take everything at face value.  If you don't agree with the opinions you receive or your gut tells you otherwise, go for a 2nd, 3rd or 4th opinion. Be your child's biggest and best advocate.  If you have an IEP or 504 in place and you feel your child's needs have changed, all for a re-evaluation.  It is your right.  It is our responsibility to do whatever is in our power to give our kids the best start we can.
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