I must say the past few months have been rather frustrating for me. I found out that Parker is not getting much in the way of speech therapy at school this year. It is due to budget cuts and the need to spread fewer speech pathologists around the district. In order to meet their requirements, they are seeing two, three, or in my son’s case, nine students at a time. While there may be some value for Parker, it is minimal in terms of speech progression. Interaction is never a bad thing; but, he is not getting the intense one on one practice of the teacher asking questions and eliciting answers from him. Since he is not currently verbal and has been only minimally verbal in the past, I feel strongly that he needs as much speech therapy as his time will allow. Believe me; I understand the need for cutting back. The state check book is overdrawn and it is high time to start balancing the budget. I am one of the first to praise the powers that be for their sense of responsibility. I am also not saying that I just don’t want us to be affected by cuts. When you are broke, everyone is affected. What I am saying is that finding more speech services for Parker outside of the school system is not easy and so far has been extremely exasperating.
Since Parker receives after school services for speech, I naturally approached his current therapist about getting more outside speech. At first, I was hoping for another time after school. When the chances of that ever happening proved to be fat and slim, I changed my tune quickly and said we would take any time. Any time other than during another therapy that is. That tune I soon changed as well because finding any time for another session in a busy therapist’s schedule was like finding a needle in a haystack. So, if we could find “a time” I would see about trying to switch around another busy therapist’s schedule to accommodate this extra hour of speech. At one point, it was looking good. In fact, the story was that it was probable to move a patient from Wednesday and see him on Monday, the day Parker already has outside speech. That would leave a Wednesday slot for Parker. It was by no means convenient because I would need to pick him up from school and take him to speech mid morning and bring him back to school late morning for him to finish the day, and this would be every Wednesday. All I could think of was it is a good thing I don’t have a job. As it is now, I pick up Parker a half hour early on Mondays and Thursdays to have speech one day and OT the other. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I pick him up from school and we go to PT one day and OT the other. Since Tuesday and Wednesday are after school, I get the lead out and move at breakneck speed to load him into the car and get away before the buses leave. As I found out early on, if I get behind the busses, he is at least fifteen minutes late for the therapy. During the summer and fall, we have hippotherapy one day after one of the current therapies. Fridays are great because we go straight home! Well, Parker’s OT managed to find some parents to allow some switching around of schedules and it allowed us to take the spot of the speech child who we were convinced could move times. After all was said and done, it did not work out. The child who was an almost sure thing for moving days, had a conflict and it all fell to pieces. I apologized profusely to our OT and explained the situation and she said that she also worked with this child. She said to let her give the schedules a try and I just said, “Bless you.” She tried to make it work out for us to no avail.
So, it is now more than half way through the year and Parker has not been getting much speech therapy and I am perturbed. There has to be a way to get more speech. I am not asking to get the Hope diamond! Just saw it last summer and it is beautiful. But I digress. Next, I asked if there would be another therapist we could see. After a couple of months, that proved to be a lost cause as well. Lastly, I went to our school therapist and asked if she did private sessions or if any of the other speech pathologists did. The school therapist said she doesn’t and she would check with the others and report back her findings. So that is where I am today. I will wait for a week or two and find out the news. It didn’t sound too hopeful, but, I will wait and hope. If this does not work, I will have to evaluate if it would be prudent to travel once a week to Charlotte to get another speech session. I don’t know if it is worth the time commitment and with the price of gas, the cost could get pretty high. It could be a three hour round trip and it seems unfair to Parker to do this much traveling, especially when he has a long day four days a week and we go to Charlotte fairly regularly for all his specialty doctor’s appointments. So we wait, we pray for an answer to come and I keep looking for an answer.