Early Intervention

by w
(massachusetts)

My 28month old daughter has just started early intervention services for speech language delays expressive and receptive, and what my husband and I believe is SPD, however this exact terminology has not been used by our service coordinator. Our concerns are that the service coordinator who sees our daughter is a licensed social worker, not a speech pathologist or occupational therapist.


Whenever we bring up concerns with her i.e. our daughter refusing to eat certain textures of food and actually eating her younger brother's baby food out of absolute hunger or the intense tantrums she has out of frustration with difficulty communicating, she seems to dismiss these concerns as our daughter wanting to be the baby, or something other than the real issue. I think that she means well and does offer some great suggestions at times, but I am concerned that my daughter is going to be transitioned out of EI in a few months and will not get the services that we feel she is going to need throughout her life especially in the school setting. I am a nurse so I do have medical knowledge, however I am not an OT/PT/SLP. I guess my question is two-fold.

1. Is it wrong that we took it upon ourselves to have our pediatrician refer our daughter for an OT/SLP eval without using our service coordinator via EI? (She has said that she doesn't think our daughter needs these services as far as she can see)

2. How do we get our EI coordinator to take this more seriously without creating a tense relationship since this is in effect the person who will be responsible for our daughters transition into IEP at age 3?

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May 24, 2009
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Similar Situations
by: rae.baird@yahoo.com

I'm not real sure what state you are in and just like previously mentioned, every state is different. But one thing I know is not different, is the parent along with the child have the right to be evaluated for anything.

We had a similar situation happen to us. Our service coordinator didn't think out daughter needed any therapy and after going through 2 EI teachers we finally found one that agreed with us, that she needed therapy.

We started with PT and she questioned us about OT when we asked for an evaluation. I was fed up and demanded one. You as a parent have rights and one of those rights is to get the therapy your child deserves and needs and the only way to receive that is to find someone to do an eval. and the only way to get that is to demand one, and the way it sounds you may need to do this.

Dont worry about hurting feelings, this is your daughter and her future is in your hands. Ask yourself this, would you leave her with someone you don't trust? Then why would you put up with a therapist, social worker, EI or anyone that wasn't on your child's side? I am also concerned about your daughter's age, being that she is so close to being too old for EI. You need to get her evaluated immediately to start any other therapy she may need. It's hard to get into a therapy once she is out of EI.

I hope this helps a little and if you have any questions please contact me through email. I am an LPN who works with children with special needs and they all have been involved in EI and I am also a mother with a daughter who has special needs. Rereading this it sounds harsh to me and it may to you, but your daughter deserves this. This is her future and you have the right to fight to make it the way she deserves it, not the way a therapist that may not believe in SPD wants it.

May 24, 2009
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Early intervention and Sensory Integration
by: Anonymous

Every state's EI program may be ran a little differently, but one thing in common is that they follow federal guidelines (Part C services) and you can learn more about that at www.nectac.org. and www.firstsigns.org. All EI programs are to offer a variety of services for children who qualify, they include: occupational, physical, and speech therapy, dietitian, psychologist,licensed social worker,and teachers for the hearing and/or visually impaired. All children automatically receive service coordination.

A service coordinator does not have to be a social worker, but it usually is. I am an occupational therapist working for early intervention in the state of Texas, and I am also trained to be a service coordinator. If you ask for an occupational therapy evaluation, then you should receive one, and if that evaluator says your child does not need services, then you should seek out services privately if you really feel you need OT or you may decide that you really don't need OT. But since a social worker is not an OT, and a parent is a part of the team forming the IFSP, when you ask for something it should be considered with seriousness.

My experience as an OT in the EI setting, is that most children with developmental delays could benefit from strategies given by an OT even if it is only an evaluation and report and not continued services. Some EI programs limit therapy evaluations because they are short staffed, so I am unsure if your service coordinator really does not think OT is necessary or there just isn't one available; but it is their job to find one, even if they have to contract one in private practice.

Also, if you are not happy with your service coordinator, you have the right to ask for another one. You should have been handed a "rights handbook" when you began EI and it should have lots of contact and legal info.

Also, try your states main EI website which should list out in detail all of the state rules. Early intervention is EXTREMELY important, and your child deserves to receive the services he needs! I think you can handle this in a nice manner with assertiveness, and your service coordinator should understand. Also, don't worry about her helping you with the IEP, because once you are in the school system at 3-5 yrs of age, it is a whole new ball game, and other people are helping you. Good luck!

May 23, 2009
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you know best
by: Anonymous

I feel that you are the parent and know your child better than any Ei worker ever could so if you feel that she isn't getting all the help she needs don't hesitate to speech to your pediatrician about getting an OT. I don't know much about how EI works, but we saw an OT and did early childhood special ed at the same time. Luckily in our case both have been on the same page. We are our children's advocate and sometimes we have to step on a few toes to get what they need. Best of luck to you!!

May 23, 2009
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Red Flags
by: Anonymous

I don't know if your daughter has SPD or not, but if you feel she needs more observation, don't let anyone tell you different. My grandson is showing many signs of SPD, and was evaluated at the school lever. He is 3. They said they did not have enough RED flags.My daughter is now going to have him evaluated by a few other people. My daughter had a form of Muscular Dystrophy. For the first 2 years that I said something was wrong we were ignored. I got the "all kids are not a like" to "it is her shoes" giving her problems. I learned along time ago to go with your gut feelings.

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