Tuesday, August 24, 2010

(Lack Of) Services

  Yesterday I received an e-mail from my daughter's therapist about a program we we were trying to get B into. It is a program to help children and parents learn skills for dealing with anxiety. This is part of the letter our therapist sent me:

"N isn't sure if this group would be helpful for B. She says it is very fast paced and not designed for kids with a complex developmental history. It is usually run by medical and/or psychology students under supervision who would not have any real experience with children like B. But she says you can call her and discuss B's needs more fully and see what you think."

     Here we we have a problem that I run into all the time. Services have restrictions for eligibility. On the surface, that seems logical. A service must specify who they serve so that people get appropriate services, after all, for funding, to avoid duplication of services, so that the right people go to the right programs. The problem is that kids like B have complex diagnoses and they fail the eligibility criteria of programs not because they don't meet the criteria, but because they exceed the criteria.
     It happens all the time. To the point that my daughter currently only receives therapy for her anxiety. That's it, and it took a very long time to get that.
     Before she started school, she received very good services, through the Infant Development Program and the Centre for Ability. Speech therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy were all provided. When children become school aged, they no longer receive those services because the school board is supposed to step in, but their services are stretched so very thin that my daughter has not seen a speech or occupational therapist in eight years, other than diagnostic ones during assessments.Assessments we have. I have assessments on her through the nose. Turning those assessments into action that is where the system is failing.
     Can you imagine what it is like for those who don't have a diagnosis since birth? There are many students in the school system, right now, with no diagnosis and no assessments. I think about that a lot, I am very lucky that B was diagnosed with a stroke at birth, because not all kids who have a stroke are diagnosed with it. It isn't something that doctors look for at birth, and it is something that only time reveals as a possibitlity.

1 comment:

  1. I'm LOVING the LJ feed!

    I know we live in very different areas with different guidelines, but I thought I'd share the story of how I managed to wrangle speech therapy for my son in case it might help you figure out how to get what you need for B.

    When James entered school, he was evaluated for speech along with all the other kindergarteners. He was found to have multiple speech errors, but there were many students who had "greater issues", so the SLP gave me exercises to do at home with him. After several months with little progress, I spoke to the therapist on one of my volunteer days. I asked her what else I can be doing - could she recommend a structured program or possibly a private therapist? She was surprised at the level of involvement that I was willing to have OUTSIDE of the school program, and because of that, she felt that time spent on my son would be a good investment despite the fact that he wasn't the kid who most needed her services. So she squeezed him in with other kids his age, and he has done well. At the end of the first year, I thought services would end - after all, there were other kids with "greater need" - but by then, she was so invested in my son's progress that she didn't drop him. Last week, he started his third year of ST, all because I showed the therapist that I was going to make sure that her hard work wasn't going to be for nothing.

    (((HUGS))) to B, as always!