My son is 12. He has trouble pronouncing a few sounds clearly, just a few, a tiny few. Over the years he has worked to clarify many other sounds, but is stuck on these. I need help. His recent interest in acting has prompted us to find a speech therapist to work with him.
I called a local establishment and they said they would be glad to help, but I should try the public school system first. After all it would be a free service for him. Saving money sounded great so I began the process of contacting the local public school system at the beginning of August. After being put off several times, I finally got through to someone on 8/18. She was to meet with the staff and get back with me. I called back 9/9 and left another message. She called me back on 9/11 saying I should have received a packet by the mail. Things went back and forth several more times. I finally received the packet on 9/17, completed all 12 pages and returned it the next day. I was quite surprised when most of the information requested had to do with my son’s potential gang or drug activity and developmental issues as an infant. I think I marked 2 items on those whole 12 pages that had to do with his actual need for speech therapy.
This evening I spoke with the person assigned to this ‘case.’ My first appointment to see someone was made for next week, but I was a bit confused when my son was not to attend this meeting. It is a consultation to review his case. After this consultation, they will determine whether to take the next step and evaluate my son. After the evaluation with him, they will set another appointment to determine exactly what help he needs.
I’m thinking why do I need to have a consultation about the 12 pages of paper work I just sent in. Was it not clear which sounds he needs help articulating? As gently as I was able, I expressed my exasperation with the whole process, adding that I did not know how they could determine whether or not they could help my son if they did not meet with him first to listen to his speech patterns. The response was that the federal government had mandated that this process be in place. The public school system was required to go through all these steps by the federal government.
I don’t want the federal government ‘helping’ if this is what happens. What great inefficiency! And my tax dollars (okay, my husband’s) are paying for this. All I need is a speech therapist assigned to my son. And now my son is labeled as a Special Needs child. If only they knew.
So here it is over a month since my first contact and I finally have an appointment to discuss his case with someone face to face. I am so glad this has been our only dealing with the public school system, and I am doubly glad we have chosen to homeschool.
Did I mention that rather than utilize a speech therapist at the local public school just 3 blocks from my house that I have to drive over 40 blocks?