Some of you know Mia and I went to the Nuffield Hearing and Speech Centre today. I’ll be honest, I feel so disheartened I want to go to bed and sleep it off, waking up to a new day tomorrow! It’s all mixed with reawakened feelings of grief for my Mum because I wish she was here now, and I am in her house with the echo of her wafting around me. I am full of grief for my Mum and for Mia tonight. Some of you will be waiting to hear what went so wrong, though!
Well, honestly, it wasn’t THAT bad. No one said ‘It’s hopeless, Mia will never speak, you need to suck it up’. I think I went in there feeling they would hi-five me with a ‘Yeay – you are doing so well, we can really see how much she has come on’. I was in for a shock. I watched Mia sit and produce an array of sounds and vowels with reasonable accuracy. I was overjoyed (temporarily) at seeing how well she did, thinking of the same assessment nearly 2 years ago. In fact, they said themselves, in our little sit down review later, that she had nearly all the sounds, bar a few, reasonably close to where they should be. They could see we have been working on them.
However (there was a ‘however’ coming!) – they said they are very concerned that she struggles so much to communicate. That even I, her Mum, cannot always get what she is trying to say. It is painful to watch (my words, not theirs!). They are concerned that her attempts at communication show a severe language impairment, as it is coupled with what they thought was immature play for her developmental age. They said that the best of her successful sentence creations, as reported by me, not seen today, were at the level expected of a 2.5 year old. As they said 2 years ago (just before the NHS pretty much dismissed us) that there was dire need to have a full and extensive assessment of her expressive and receptive language. Also, are there other learning difficulties? They mentioned tests an Educational Psychologist (EP) might use e.g. sorting, matching, categorising. I know Mia is exceptionally good at these things, but that is not ‘official’. So we need to decipher does she have a severe SLI which is the root of most of her communication difficulties, or is it mostly a severe speech disorder leading to an expressive language problem. If it is this, we need to crack on with speech and the rest will come with help. If it’s not, and she has a severe receptive language problem, this needs specialised treatment prescribed by the results of in depth assessment.
I am a bit shaken up. I felt Mia was showing good progress in all areas. I have been slowly looking into getting a statement of SEN, although LEAs do try and wriggle out of things if they can, and the fact that we are Home Educating would be excuse enough for some LEAs. I am not sure about North Yorks, but I am going to start digging. There are no schools with Language Units near us anyway, so that may work in our favour as Mia’s needs cannot be met in mainstream school. They recommended getting an EP with a view to statementing. They said as we are saving the LEA so much money by home educating, they should (I won’t use their strong words in public!) fund SLT and anything else Mia might need. I asked how the hell I kick them up the butt to make them cough up! I would really appreciate some support. Well, I have put in the long planned call to a lady at Parent Partnership. We should have a report from the Nuffield folks in about 3/4 weeks, which might help. Lots of work to be done, and I hope it all heads in the right direction, giving help NOT headache! So, there’s a summary, now I am off to bed!