So we ALL want him to talk right? I know that any type of communication is a positive thing, especially at this point, but I selfishly continue to want this communication to be speech. I am picky.
I received an email yesterday from Nate’s speech therapist at school that really upset me. I don’t think that it technically “should” have, but as our marriage counselor says, there’s really no reason to “should” all over myself, I feel what I feel. Anyway, it was a fairly routine correspondence, Nate’s next set of evaluations and IEP meeting are coming up (oh goody) and she was requesting permission to have an “assistive technology” evaluation done. Basically, the school would provide him, if it is determined to be necessary, with a type of computer device to assist with communication. I know that for many people this type of assistance doesn’t just “fall into their laps” like this. Although truly we have done a ton of work to get to this point. I should be and am grateful for all of the help we receive. I will take anything they are willing to give him; I try to keep in mind that it is much easier to keep services that are given when a child is small than it is to obtain them as the child gets older. Jack is a prime example of that.
So what the heck is my problem? This email made me cry. Well duh, it’s just another “step”. Another step towards accepting that Nate may not talk. Now, in my response to the speech therapist, I broached the subject of still working on actual speech and she stated that using this device in no way means that they/we will not keep working on speech, and that this would hopefully actually be a bridge to him speaking. But I know. He has little “friends” with autism, the same age and older. They are not whipping this device out for them. Just my Nate. And I refuse to accept it. Not the device itself but the possibility of no speech. I think that I will likely consult the advocate we used with Jack last year, who is wonderful, not because I think that Nate is being denied services that he needs, but because I want to make sure all of the bases are covered. It’s worth the small investment to have that peace of mind.
This revelation has kicked me into high gear. Maybe I needed it, who knows. I feel like I am working hard, but there is always something I’m forgetting. For the past two years I have wanted Nathan in private speech therapy. We have been unable to do it; our insurance covers 60 visits a year of PT/OT and speech combined, and I have chosen to make his severe sensory issues the priority as I really do think that they interfere with his ability to do the work that speech therapy requires. He is just too distracted. But enough. I am tired of allowing these restrictions drive my son’s therapies; he is not getting all that he needs. And I plan to change that.
I am calling a private speech therapist in the morning. I am getting an evaluation. We should have enough visits left after his once a week OT visits to cover at least two months of speech this year, and we will have to make that work. In terms of next year, I am looking into enrolling the boys in both my and John’s insurance plans so they have dual coverage. I have never used my benefits because of the sky high deductible, but if there is dual coverage, the other plan will take care of that. And my coverage, I discovered today, allows for 60 OT/PT visits per year AND 60 speech visits per year. That would be just wonderful, but I still have to figure out the monthly costs once our open enrollment information for next year is available. But at least I have a plan, and that feels good.
This boy will talk, I know he wants to and I KNOW that he can.