Friday, August 07, 2009

Seeking Speech Therapy and Thoughts About Starting School

At Rachel's craniofacial team appointment back in January, the Speech Therapist recommended speech therapy for Rachel. It wasn't bad enough to warrant going to Loma Linda weekly, but enough to seek help from the school district. Because we were in limbo about where Rachel would be going to school, we needed to wait to see where it was she'd go once accepted or denied. Once we learned she was accepted to the school Hannah is at, it was too late in the school year to seek out a speech therapy evaluation.

So, I was prepared the first day of school. I wrote a letter to the principal stating my request for an evaluation and then gave a little history on Rachel and her birth defect and how she's already had speech, etc, etc. I included a copy of the team report, highlighting the section from the speech therapist.

During Kindergarten Orientation on Tuesday, we got a chance to talk to Rachel's teacher. We briefly told her about Rachel. I wanted her to be aware of her birth defect especially because sometimes when she smiles big, you can see that her front top teeth are jacked up, in addition to her nose being a little off. I also made her a copy of the letter to the principal and the team report and let her know we were seeking a speech evaluation. She told us that she's had a cleft affected child once in recent years and the district at that time refused to evaluate him/her. But the district has a new speech therapist now and things could very well be different. If Rachel is denied speech therapy by the school, we'll seek it elsewhere, but it'd be nice if she was given it through the school.

I have to say, I'm a little nervous about Rachel and school and the other kids. Up to this point, she's really had no one ever tease her about her nose. Kindergarten could be the year it starts. Maybe not. We talked extensively to the plastic surgeon back in January about having a nose revision done before school started, but the things they would work on weren't the things we were concerned about as far as the appearance of her nose. It would have been an unnecessary surgery at this time. We need to wait for her face to grow some more before anything noticeable would be done. On an interesting note, the tooth we refer to as her 'special tooth' which is located sideways up in her gum is starting to straighten and come down! We're not sure what that means, but it has to be better than staying high up in the gum.

Other than those worries, I know she'll be a success in Kindergarten!


Joy Howse said...

I am suprised they could deny her speech therapy at school. Is that because it is a private school? it is my understand they have to provide it, at least at the public level. I know that Andrew was in it from preschool through May of this last year (4th grade).

Glad her special tooth is moving along. I know that Aiden's 'special tooth' (the one in his lip tissue) really keeps me anxious, wondering what it is going to do next and when we are going to have to intervene to help it out (literally).

With Rachel's awesome personality I am sure she won't have any problems in school, but i know that is something that all cleft affected mommies worry about.

Darcy said...

Rachel's school is a public school. I'm not sure how they could deny services, but we shall see.....

Kelly Rogers said...

I would think that the school district would at least have to test Rachel before making any decisions. I hope it all works out for the best!

I know kids can be cruel and in many cases they will tease other kids for no reason at all. But Rachel seems to be such a sweet and friendly child, I think she will make many friends and not have much trouble. But I agree with Joy - I know that is something all of us cleft mommies worry about. That was one of my main concerns when I found out about Gavin's cleft during my ultrasound.

Krissy said...

I'm right there with you Darcy! I think I've worried about how Drew might be treated since the beginning, but so far so good! I'm sure Rachel will do great b/c she always looks so full of energy and personality!!

Darcy said...

I think truth be told, if someone made fun of Rachel she'd either pop em one, or just walk away. I'm praying it'd be the latter of the two. LOL.