Monthly Archives: January 2012
|January 8, 2012||Posted by Laura under Apraxia Awareness, IEPs, Special Education, Treatment|
In the previous post in this series I stated that assessments will become your new best friend. While this is certainly true, it is also true the CASANA’s Apraxia-Kids website will become your Bible.
If a child has a CAS diagnosis and the school district is not recommending individual speech therapy, it is most often because of a lack of knowledge on their part. Only about 1% of children have CAS. ASHA did not come out with a position statement on CAS’s existence until 2007. Most SLPs, if they finished their schooling more than just a few years ago probably did not cover CAS in any of their classes. Expertise comes from experience and continued training. School districts generally don’t have a lot of money for continued training and when paying for their own training, not all SLPs are going to seek out training for a relatively rare disorder.
It’s helpful to try to keep this in mind when dealing with the school system. It’s not that they don’t want your child to get the services that s/he needs, it’s that they don’t know what the services are that s/he needs. It is your job as a parent, to educate the school system about CAS the same way that you educated yourself.
1. Go to the Apraxia-Kids website and look at their Apraxia-KIDS library. There are a lot of things written about CAS on the web, but the most trustworthy depository of RELIABLE information and PEER-REVIEWED research is found here.
2. Print out every article in the library and make an organized binder with tabs. You can use the same sections the Apraxia-KIDS library uses. Title the binder something along the lines of “Apraxia-KIDS Library from CASANA.” Write on the binder “To be placed in (Your Child’s) cumulative file.”
3. Write a very cordial letter to the Director of Special Education for your school district where you state that you are aware that CAS is a relatively rare diagnosis and that not all clinician’s are up to date on PEER-REVIEWED research and current BEST PRACTICES. State that you would like to help the District so you took the time to make this binder. Ask that it be placed in your child’s cumulative file to follow him/her through the school system. Thank the Director for his/her time and state that you are looking forward to working with him/her in the future.
4. Mail or drop off (since it will be expensive to mail) the binder.
5. The reason for creating this binder is two-fold. One, the District probably truly does need more information about CAS. In reality, there is not much likelihood that anyone in the District will read this binder. That’s okay because of the second reason. Two, if you ever go to due process, everything in your child’s cumulative file is evidence. You have just placed all of the current PEER-REVIEWED research and current BEST PRACTICES in your child’s cumulative file. You have now entered all of this into evidence. While the District will probably not read it, they are supposed to and you can hold them responsible for any decisions they make about your child’s therapy that are not in line with the research presented here.
6. Monitor the Apraxia-KIDS website and if any new articles or research come along, send a copy along with a nice letter requesting it be added to your child’s cumulative file.
|January 8, 2012||Posted by Laura under Diagnosis, Early Intervention, IEPs, Special Education|
Services (amount and type of speech therapy) are determined by goals. Goals are determined by areas of need. Areas of need are determined by assessments. Assessments are your best friend.
1. If for some reason the district is not planning on conducting a speech and language assessment, ask for one in writing. Be sure to date it as this sets a time line the district will have to follow.
2. If you know your child has CAS then s/he must already be in some type of speech therapy. If s/he is in Birth to Three then the SLP will already be writing a report for the transition meeting. If your child is getting speech therapy privately, ask your SLP to write a report with suggested services and goals. The suggested services should be in line with ASHA’s recommendation of individual sessions three to five times per week for thirty minutes.
3. If you know your child has CAS then you already have a diagnosis. Make sure this is written in the report. If your child is quite young, the SLP may yet have been able to make a differential diagnosis. The report should at least say “suspected CAS” or “probable CAS.”
4. Give a copy of this report to the District at least 24 to 48 hours prior to the IEP meeting. Show them the same respect that you expect them to give you.
5. You will now have two speech and language reports to discuss at your IEP meeting. The district does not have to agree with your private report but they have to at least discuss it. If they do not, then they are infringing on your rights as an EQUAL PARTICIPANT in the IEP meeting.
6. If the two reports mesh and you can agree on goals and services, then you are good to go.
7. If they do not mesh, then you tell the IEP team during your meeting that you disagree with the district’s speech and language assessment because of X, Y, and Z. Then request an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) in speech and language. Follow this verbal request up with a written request as well.
8. You now have a choice to make. You can choose not to sign the IEP and consent to services (sign as a participant only). If your child is transitioning then s/he will not receive any services from the district while awaiting the IEE. If your child already has been receiving services, then Stay Put will be followed and your child will continued to be provided with the service from last signed IEP until the next IEP meeting.
9. If there are some services that you agree with, you can consent to only part of the IEP. Be sure to write this next to your signature. For example, “I agree and consent to the OT goals and services but not the speech and language goals and services.” Remember, do not do this at the IEP meeting. Take it home and mull it over.
10. An IEE is basically a second opinion at no cost to you. When presented with an IEE request, the district has only two options: grant it or take you to due process and prove that it is not warranted. The vast majority of the time the district will grant the IEE because they will most likely spend less money on it than on a lawyer at a due process hearing. If the district does choose to take you to due process, you can take back your request.
11. Once granted an IEE, you need to find a CAS expert in your area for the assessment. Ask around. Check message boards. It might be worth it to you to make a little bit of a drive to get to that expert.
12. Assuming your child does have CAS, the expert is going to recommend speech therapy in line with ASHA’s recommendation which is individual therapy three to five a week for 30 minutes sessions.
13. Your IEE will be the topic of discussion at your next IEP meeting.