Even though I’ve been in the education racket for a while now, the beast that is special education still baffles me. Just thinking about the process makes me want to slit my wrists with an overdue IEP.
Today’s post is more personal in nature than usual, and I could use the help of anyone in the Special Ed. field. My cousin has a young son who is turning three, and he’s as cute as can be. He’s also a precocious lad, getting his little mitts on anything with bells, whistles and especially buttons–that boy is a beast with a remote.
Well, my cousin (the kid’s mom) was concerned that this kid was not that verbal at this point. She has the child in speech therapy under a program for kids until age 3, and the boy is progressing. He mimicks words said by others, although his articulation isn’t quite there yet (then again, he’s only two, but we’ll talk about that later). At a dinner, the boy’s mom asked me about how to research schools that could cater to his needs, and also about what services the child is entitled to receive. I replied that it would be difficult to know what he needs until an evaluation is conducted. We discussed forms and things and left it at that.
Yet I still had questions that needed to be resolved–this is where you come in. First of all, the boy’s speech therapist says it may be difficult to place him in support programs in his area (Nassau County, Long Island, New York) because he does not suffer a cognitive disorder, simply a speech deficiency. Is this necessarily true? I agree that my little cousin (he technically isn’t a nephew, is he?) has no problems with cognition or understanding. Yet I’m not sure if simply having a problem with speech is an impediment.
My second question concerns the Individualized Education Plan, the infamous IEP. Although I have a general gist of how the IEP writing process works, in terms of evaluation, diagnosis, conferencing, etc., I’m a little in the dark about the parental rights and responsibilities regarding the IEP. What rights do parents have with creating, revising, and especially access to the IEP if the child is going to another school?
Lastly, and this may be a dig at my cousin, how verbal should a child be approaching age 3? Is there a benchmark that should be reached? In short, is my cousin paranoid or batshit insane for subjecting her child to therapy intervention in the first place? I ask this because in my years in the classroom, I’ve seen children who were never verbal for years suddenly open up at age 7, 8 or even 10 or 11. Then again, I’ve also seen kids who are just never verbal, for various reasons. It would be good to know if a benchmark or an assessment exists to see if his speech is “at level” or not.
I’m a big believer in the individual development of children. Everybody grows and learns at different rates. This is why I have these concerns about my little dude. Any help with this from my educator friends in the Neighborhood would be much appreciated.
And here’s a sweetener: all who help out will get tickets to a Jonas Brothers concert, or a link on this blog and a subsequent mention in a post, whatever’s available. How’s that for free pubicity 🙂