Falling on Deaf Ears

A mother's instinct is usually right. This is my story of the battles, the appointments, the snide comments and coming out the other side. Oh, and anything else to do with life.

A Catalogue of Errors

on September 19, 2012

English: Speech-Language Pathology

Before I get to the nitty gritty in this post, I will point out that I don’t wholly blame ‘the system’ for failing me and the boy, but I was naive, and not trained, and more could have been done at the start.

It all began when the boy was 2 years old. He had the usual development check. It happened in November. The health visitor asked me about his speech, whether strangers could understand him etc. I said not all the time. After the evaluation, she said he would need a Speech and Language (SAL) full assessment. I didn’t argue, if that is what she thought was necessary. But I didn’t think it was. I mean, he was only 2. Of course his speech wasn’t excellent.

There was my first mistake. His speech wasn’t excellent, but had he had the full assessment, I would no doubt have been told that his speech was fine, but his understanding wasn’t. Mention SAL to anyone, and they think that it is wholly to do with Speech. It isn’t.

Well, that assessment never happened. Why? Because we moved. We moved out of the area but not out of the NHS Trust. At our new doctors, I mentioned the referral, would it still come through? Yes, I was told. It didn’t. I didn’t chase it either.

At 3 (ish) he had another assessment. Here, they picked up on his poor understanding and comprehension (again). I mentioned this wasn’t new, but nothing ever came of it. Still, nothing came of it, but it was noted in his Red Book.

Fast forward: We move again, I don’t mention the problems to the new Health Visitor. At this point they weren’t a major issue. But I was noticing his behaviour was different to that of other children. Discipline that worked for most other children, just didn’t work with the boy. He complained that he didn’t hear or understand. As I looked into his eyes, I could see it was the truth. Also, his response to us calling him or talking to him was unusual. It was as if he wasn’t there in mind. What we said wasn’t registering. We thought we were going crazy.

That was until, one day in Reception class, his teacher pulled me to one side and said that she thought the boy couldn’t hear, did she have my permission for the school to do a hearing test? Well, I could hardly contain myself. Yes, of course teacher. Do it!

She did. The boy passed the hearing test, but they thought he needed referral to SAL. See the pattern? I asked the teacher what she thought. She said his speech was fine and saw no need for it.  I took her word and didn’t pursue it. After all, she is the professional. Why wouldn’t I believe her? I have since learned that that teacher is the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO).

This has been a long post. But I hope you are seeing the problems faced, but my story is far from unique. I am a parent, who listened to the professional. As you will learn, professionals don’t always know it all.

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