What do I do as a parent... Where do I start?


I am confused, frustrated and I feel like I am failing my child. She was tested in first grade and it seemed everything was going well. Now that she is in third grade, I feel that she is only understanding as a first grader.

BACKGROUND: I don't know where to start. Her teacher is trying exercises with her along with the instructional support teacher but I just feel that nothing is getting through. I am staying in prayer because I get so frustrated that I feel that she's not learning because of me.

She was a very happy baby, not afraid of anyone. Slept through the night. The only thing I noticed about her as she grew was her speech was not developed as it should have been by age 3. I kept having her tested because I thought she was hearing impaired. But they kept telling me she is fine. FINALLY at age 4 she started talking to a point other people understand her.

In Kindergarten (private school) they told me she was having behavior problems not paying attention, being a clown. They wanted a psych evaluation done on her and I was upset because my child has always been a good child and didn't understand why they wanted to treat her like she was Dennis the Menace. I was upset.

Well, I finally removed her from that school after having my own doctors test her and find out the level of teaching they were on was too advanced for any child and because the teacher was very verbally abusive toward her (awful experience). One day, my daughter even said to me, "MOMMY, DID YOU PUT ME IN THIS SCHOOL BECAUSE I'M BAD." My heart was crushed; you think you are giving your child a better education and she is put through more stress than public school!

So I put her in a certified Kindergarten and she was fine but the class size was 5! When she made it to first grade (class size was 24) that's when the teacher started saying that she is having behavior problems. We all had a meeting (Her teacher, the instruction support teacher, school psychologist, reading teacher, and the reading specialist who sat in). The teacher mentioned that instead of asking for help she would act silly or cry. Then I mentioned how when I would say something to her, she looks at me like I said it in another language and that's when the instructional support teacher said, "I BET YOU SHE HAS AUDITORY PROCESSING PROBLEMS." So from that meeting the teacher was told to teacher as if she has it until we all do the testing and get the results from the reading specialist.

After some time, we received the results from reading specialist and it was confirmed it was an Auditory Processing Disorder. Now, my point in saying this is that I wasn't really told what to do. I tried to find information and just felt that wasn't it. I talked to our local Intermediate Unit and was told that the school will be able to give her the help she needed. But, I really felt that there was no help.

I find that now, half way through 3rd grade, she is struggling and trailing further behind than she was in 1st and even 2nd grade.

I don't know where to go or where to start. I'm frustrated and agitated and that's not fair to my little pumpkin. So any advice would be appreciated. I just can't seem to figure out how to help her. It takes us over 3 hours to do one paper of her reading assignment.

Thanks for listening I feel better just writing this.

Be Blessed,

The SPD Help Line Answers...

Oh, Jessica, please let me first apologize for my delay in responding to your submission. Did you ever "misplace" something and kick yourself for doing so when you found it again? Oh my goodness, I am so sorry. It doesn't happen often, but once in a while it does... I am so sorry it was yours!! Forgive me.

Anyway, I feel your frustration! So many other parents have been there too. What I don't understand is how they have identified the problem and are not really helping. If her auditory processing problems are interferring to the point you indicate, she should indeed be getting (and entitled to get!) help on a weekly basis through a Speech Language Pathologist. Do they have an SLP at the school?? You didn't mention one. The reading specialist certainly can help (although it doesn't appear they are), but an SLP would really be the professional you need involved for Auditory Processing Disorder.

Did they officially call it "Central Auditory Processing Disorder"? There is a lot of information out there on it... just google it and you will find a lot! Meanwhile, can I suggest a wonderful book (so I've heard)?! It is called, When The Brain Can't Hear. I highly recommend you get your hands on a copy of it. Another good book that may fit your exact needs? The Mislabeled Child. EXCELLENT book that may help you truly understand what might be going on and give you specific strategies to help.

Although SPD can be a controversial school treated diagnosis (I prefer private therapy anyway for this to fully treat it), Auditory Processing Disorders are easily within the scope of needing treatment that is school based and certainly WILL interfere with school work! So... I suggest you fight for Speech Language Pathology services!!

Talk again and again and again, if you have to, to the special education team about the specific issues your daughter is having, how it is specifically interferring with her schoolwork and behavior (especially after you read more about it... you will know exactly what is affected and how) and fight for services on a weekly basis. Then, make sure they are giving you and her things to work on at home.

That said, even though you are entitled to these services through the school (oh, and if they don't have an SLP, they are responsible for providing those services through somewhere else), you may want to go to a local clinic or children's hospital to work with a speech pathologist even more than what they will provide through the school. There are some wonderful programs (ONE of many examples is Therapeutic Listening) they can do with her that will help tremendously. If you find the right SLP, and you do your homework, you will see a different little girl!

I want you to start there, then update us on what you are able to get. Ah, and since it has been so long (sorry) since you wrote, maybe you have found some solutions or made progress in the meantime? Can you give us an update? I will respond quicker this time.

Also, I would highly suggest joining our online support group, AllAboutKids, where you will meet literally hundreds of other parents who have kids with auditory processing delays and SPD! They can give you some great advice and resources!! Here's the link to check it out/join... SID-DSI_AllAboutKids.

You are not failing your daughter!!! You are trying so hard to help her... keep up the great work and keep fighting for her. I am sorry others have not been responsive to your daughter's needs! I do hope this get's better. You are doing exactly what you need to do... you have never given up despite the obstacles and you continue reaching out for help and asking questions. Be proud of yourself for that!! I am! This WILL get better with the right resources. We will help you find them, ok?

Does anyone else have any thoughts or ideas? Please let Jessica know. Thanks in advance.

We hope to hear from you again Jessica!

Take good care.
Michele Mitchell

Comments for What do I do as a parent... Where do I start?

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Mar 10, 2008
Auditory Processing Therapy
by: Karen D.

I have been on a long journey with my son who has SPD, primarily tactile defensiveness, and an Auditory processing problem. After almost a year of worrying and living in an area where not many know about SPD, we found out the our son had over sensitive hearing (he heard everything louder than we do) and auditory processing problems. We didn't figure this out until our 2nd child started talking and our SPD son (at 5 yrs) would cover his ears and scream that his brother was giving him a headache.

We eventually found a OT 1+ hours away that did the Tomatis Method listening therapy and that worked wonders. Within a week we saw a difference, and by the end of last summer he was so much more relaxed and happy!! I could even see definaiion in his facial muscles that wasn't there before.

We still have our days that are bad, and we are dealing with a public school that isn't knowledgable or helpful towards him. His school has conditions that still affect his tactile and auditory defensiveness. In fact, we are looking at a Montessori school for him for next year... BUT, the Tomatis method was well worth the investment!!!

Feb 10, 2008
by: Anonymous

Thanks, it gives me hope.

Feb 10, 2008
Mom's can move Mountains!
by: Heather Craven, CA

Hi Jessica,
We too realized something was not right by the first grade. My daughter who is now 11 was thought to have A.D.D. She couldn't focus or keep up in class. She had no real need it seemed to make friends, and worst of all she started calling herself stupid. Just as a fluke we were placed in O.T. by our H.M.O. Kaiser because of her awkward pencil grip. And Boy did we get an education. So many things for the first time made sense!

My family is in education, my step mom was a RSP teacher of almost 30 yrs. She coached me on how to call a meeting with my daughter's teacher, principal, school speech teacher, as well as the RSP teacher. I wrote down all I needed help on as well as brought in articles, exerpts from books, etc. My attitude was what can we do to help my daughter? And I was pleasantly surprised on the compassion the group had for us.

There is a law that kids with disabilities are covered under, it protects them from being left back if they fail. Your daughter might qualify for it if she is seeing the speech teacher. We were able to tweek the rules enough for my daughter.

Please don't worry about your child being labeled. The school and it's team should handle things in a professional manner. I was worried in the beginning but my daughter's self esteem was so low she already knew she wasn't like everyone else and to have the help of an adult at school to encourage her and give her support was essential to raise her self esteem.

She's in 5th grade now and gets accommodations in math and writing. She's not self conscious at all and guess what? There's lots of kids in her class that need help as well!

At home, to help information "stick", we use movement and rhythm. She used to use an exercise ball to sit on while doing her homework. It helped her focus. We play clapping games when doing flash cards or spelling words. Also, we use a small trampoline and she jumps in time while spelling or doing math. These are techniques we learned in O.T. and the results are amazing. She is also allowed to suck on Tic Tacs in class to help her focus. She has learned how to do this discretely but the teacher is aware and more than willing to let her do it.

We still have many ups and downs academically because what works today doesn't tomorrow, but she feels good about herself and in our situation that's the most important thing.


Feb 09, 2008
Thank You
by: Jessica

WOW, Thanks Michele, first let me thank you for your response. Thank you for the encouraging words because I have been so frustrated. Please don't be sorry, I understand, everyday life can be an adventure and you can lose track of time/days. I feel better that someone can at least tell me what to do and where to start.

To answer your question, she is only going to a reading teacher everyday but they mentioned an SLP. The reading teacher gave several tests and once we all got together for the result of her testing, the reading specialist said that she has AUDITORY PROCESSING issues. Now, I am going to find those books you suggested and read, read, read. On Monday I will ask about an SLP.

All of those who know me, know that I am a fighter, especial for my child. So believe me, it's "GO" time! I will keep you updated with everything and once again THANK YOU so much. I feel better just knowing I'm not alone.

Be Blessed,

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