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Assessments, assessments, assessments...

Posted Jul 31 2009 8:07pm

I ripped the plastic off a folder and thought to myself do I really need one? I stuck in the few appointments and the blood test results and a couple of hundred empty plastic pockets. Labelled a few file dividers with various assessments I knew would happen under the Assessment of Need and stuck it up on a shelf. I really didn't think that less than a year later that folder would be full and I'd be looking for a bigger one!

Munchkins first assessment was her speech and language assessment. We went in not knowing what to expect. The assessment was extremely thorough and even though Munchkin now could say some words and had a small amount of language, she fell very behind in the tests. Her receptive and cognitive was atrocious. She had some echolalia and could label about 10 items from cards at this point. The SLT said that she needed blocks of therapy and would do right into adolescence. Words like pragmatic language therapy and Floortime and Earlybird were floating around the room. I was given a list of targets to put into her program and sent on my merry way with application forms for Earlybird.. I still a year later haven't heard back from the therapists who run Earlybird as they have been on maternity leave and once again the HSE didn't apply cover for them... I often wonder where Munchkin would be now if I hadn't been trained as a tutor and think often about parents who are left in this limbo.

Second to come was the occupational therapy assessment. It was ascertained that her gross and fine motor skills were excellent but her sensory problems were causing her a lot of trouble. As I talked with the occupational therapist, Munchkin colour coded all the pegs on the board with all the green together, all the red, all the blue and so on. When we looked at what she was doing, we both actually laughed out loud. The OT armed me with lots of exercises to do with Munchkin but warned me that she wasn't allowed to "give me a program" but not to worry, her report for the assessment of need would be so detailed, I would be able to extract a program myself. She put Munchkin on the waiting list for OT but warned it would be at least two years til she'd be seen again! As the assessment of need still hasn't been completed, I don't' have access to the report so have had to rely on what I remembered from the assessment and get ideas from other autie moms and dads (where would we be without each other!)

Next assessment was the feeding assessment where it was decided that her feeding problems were all sensory and not behavioural. Once again I was given some ideas to try with her but little else. To this day, feeding is still a major stumbling block with her and she still cannot drink out of an open cup. OT apparently will help but when?? I was given details of chewy tubes, electric toothbrushes and a list of websites to look at for oral sensory equipment. We still have problems with "sticky" foods and foods that require chewing but we plod on...

The psychology assessment still hadn't happened by the August so it was time to get the money together to go privately.....
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