Oh my goodness–the joys of having a child with special needs. Some days I feel like I am on top of my game and have everything sorted. Dang, the next day I am wondering how in the world anyone ever navigates ‘the system’ with special needs children.
For the last few months we have totally been given the run-around. Trying to get in-home services for a nine year old, who is non-verbal, and NOT in the public school system is like drawing water from a stone. Homeschoolers get a bad deal I tell ya. I figured that part out a long time ago. Put your kid in school, and you have access to all the therapy. Keep them home, and you have to fight like a girl to get anything at all for your children.
Haven needs intervention services. She needs speech therapy. But, she needs it at home. Safety is huge for her. Home is her safe place–it is where she does best. But oh my word–trying to get those services is just ridiculous.
In our state, it is a requirement that in order to even get on some sort of a wait list for in-home services, an IQ test is required. Non negotiable. We weren’t too keen on having that done. We have never wanted to put Haven in any kind of box. And having an IQ test done just felt way to ‘official’, if you know what I mean.
To cut a long story short–it became clear that there really was no way around it. Want the in-home services? Got to have an IQ test. Praise God, we ended up not having to pay the $3000 we were quoted for a private IQ test, and the local public school psychologist agreed to help me. Whew.
(Yes, you read that right…that would be $3000 for an IQ test! My hubby is definitely in the wrong profession.)
So I told the psychologist Haven’s story. E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g! I explained that she did not say a single solitary word. I explained it all to him. I even gave him every single test and diagnosis we have had done on Haven. He knew she was completely non-verbal.
A couple of days later, Haven and I arrived at this nice man’s office to have the test done. I sat behind Haven, close enough for her to feel safe, knowing that mommy was there. The first part was fairly uncomplicated and easy. He was testing her way below her age, I believe the test was for a 2-3 year old. Then we get to the second half of the test…..
Mr Psychologist: “Okay Haven, now we are going to do something different. I want you to look at this picture and tell me what this is?” He points to a ball.
Mr Psychologist: “Haven, tell me what it is now. You know what that is, right Haven? Just tell me what I’m pointing too.”
Me: (butting in) “Sir, there is no way Haven is going to answer you–remember she does not speak.”
Mr Psychologist: “Yes, I know, but this is a standardized test and we have to run through the procedure the same for every child.”
My mouth drops open. Seriously?
He ignores me and continues on with Haven…
Mr Psychologist: “Haven, can you repeat after me now…see the boy run.”
Silence. Of course.
He tries again to get her to repeat. With every failed attempt he makes a little x on his paper.
I kid you not–this continued forever. Trying to get Haven to repeat what he was saying, or tell him what he was pointing to in the pictures.
I sat there dumbfounded. At a complete loss for words.
Haven is unable to speak! She cannot answer the darn questions.
We left his office and I was one seriously confused mama. What in the world went on in there? How can they possibly give me an accurate idea of what my daughter’s IQ was when she has no ability to even answer the questions. She literally sat there staring at the dude. I know for a fact that she knows what a ball is…but she does not have the ability to vocalize it! That surely cannot be an accurate indication of her IQ?
He called me later in the day to tell me my daughter’s IQ. Low? You bet. Accurate? There is no way. According to ‘the system’ she is labeled mentally disabled…by a test designed for a VERBAL CHILD…not a non-verbal child. It would truly be like giving the exact same test to a deaf child who is unable to answer with words.
You know which part of it totally breaks my heart? The fact that children are so quickly, and often inaccurately, labeled!
“Bring her back and we will retest Haven in three years,” said the psychologist.
Yeah, like what-ever!