We brought up the subject during the parent teacher conference this year. Mrs. S said she had not noticed any problems with SS speech, but admitted that SS rarely talks in class. She asked Mrs. F (the ST) to come to the classroom and observe SS. Mrs. S then left us a message to call Mrs. F and that did not go over well initially. We know their stance is to deny there is a problem, because they do not want to spend the money that it will take to address a problem. When Mrs. F said she had observed SS and did not see a problem I knew she had not spent a significant amount of time with our daughter. Mrs. F would have been able (probably has) to get away with doing nothing with other parents, but I have been through this with JJ.
Turns out that the ST spent a whole ten minutes observing SS during an activity where she collaborated with other children. Knowing SS we are certain that Mrs. F probably heard two words out of SS in that time and probably a yes or no. She asked me what were our concerns and I explained that SS's sentence structure is scattered, she talks like Yoda, and she is too old to be doing that. Then came the question about how many other children were in the home. I really dislike it that they run to that conclusion, it's cheap and it is lazy. I really had to take deep breaths to keep my cool and articulate our concerns.
Yes, SS is the only child at home, but let's look at what her school days look like. Three days a week SS is around at least 25 other children from 6:30 am to 4:30 p.m. And you are going to pull the only child excuse? Not going to happen, nope. And when SS is at home she spends her time with two educated, articulate parents, who talk TO not AT her. Sorry, but that desperate grasp at nothing won't work. For every argument Mrs. F had, I had a well thought out counter argument. I am proud to say I brow beat her into thoroughly evaluating SS's speech. That did not mean the results would please us, but after a year SS received a service she really needed.
The meeting consisted of Mrs. F, the school principal Mrs. R, SS's teacher Mrs. S, and us. P and I were not optimistic, and P had already gone through our rights and was formulating an appeal. SS did not let us down and Mrs. F found out very early in the process how stubborn that child can be. They had two meetings because SS did not utter a word during the first meeting. Mrs. F knew there was no way SS had zero expressive language. We are thankful that she tried a second time, and hit the motherload when she stumbled upon SS's love for super heroes.
Mrs. F was very impressed with SS's vocabulary, said she stopped at the middle of middle school vocabulary because she knew SS would just keep going right into high school level. That blew us away since we have never thought of SS as having a good vocabulary. We have always felt that SS is actually a year or two behind her peers. We were wondering if that was just a ploy to deny her services. I should have noted this before, SS was shown pictures of items and asked to name them. Mrs. F was impressed that SS knew what a pyramid, binoculars and windmills are. I had to stifle a giggle because there are very simple explanations. In one episode of the Wonder Pets they go to Egypt and marvel about the pyramids. Also one of the Wonder Pets (forget which one) always had a pair of binoculars during their outings. The windmill? She's seen them of the way to Palm Springs and Laughlin several times now. We are still not convinced that those are above a six year old level of comprehension, but what do we know. From the assessment, "SS was able to label higher level vocabulary such as binoculars, pyramids, compass, and windmill." Forgot about compass, another easy one. Dora the Explorer uses one.
Our little stinker scored very well in sentence structure, although we stand firm on her Yoda like sentences. Maybe a lucky guess on SS's part. "SS was able to answer questions, frequently using 1-2 word responses. When asked to elaborate, she could give more information in a grammatically correct sentence." She can? She did? How come that does not happen at home? Can't argue with the results. Not everything was good and SS did have difficulty with three sounds, th and the end of a word. She can say thumb just fine, but struggles with teeth. SS also has difficulty with s (ironic, huh?) and z sounds. Mrs. F will be working with SS a maximum of six times per month for half and hour, and with other children. A year from now we will reevaluate, and if necessary another IEP will be drawn. Beating that dead horse, but we don't buy that SS has sentence structure down. But at least she will have help with pronunciation.
Two interesting things happened during the meeting. Let's start with the lowest point for us. It occurred when we were discussing independence. Our daughter needs to start learning how to tie her shoes. We felt better when the principal stated that she has two boys and did not teach them herself. Her mother in law is a kinder teacher and did the shoe tying lessons. Mrs. R admitted she did not have the patience necessary. We were asked what type of chores SS had at home, and boy was that embarrassing. Come on, P puts toothpaste on her toothbrush and brings it to bed. We have been derelict in our duties when it comes to raising an independent child. I at least had the decency to hang my head in shame. P was just fine, yep, I spoil my kid. We went through hell to bring SS home, and SS went through hell for sixteen months. So what if I spoil my girl?
We had an amazing surprise delivered by Mrs. S, and it made our day. We are actually still on a high from her surprise. She told us SS is raising her hand in class and making eye contact. I almost cried, tears of happiness mind you, when we heard that. SS had an awful year last year and it is good to know that Mrs. S has earned SS's trust, and that she really cares about our daughter's well being. SS has also told us how much she likes Mrs. S, and how happy she is to be in her the classroom.
I should have known that out little arroz blanco would be photographed that day.