The Evaluation And Labeling Of Children With Disabilities Essay

The Evaluation And Labeling Of Children With Disabilities Essay

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The information given me by various professionals who have repeatedly evaluated my daughter is the biggest issue that I face in my life. In order for me to resolve my issue I need to explore whether my issue lies with the professionals and the process of evaluation, or with me not wanting to accept that my child is disabled.My six and a half year old daughter, Malia, began to show signs of delayed development at age eighteen months. Her speech started to regress and there were also behavioral signs that were significant enough for me to ask our doctor for advice. When was not concerned to the point that I was I contacted Multnomah County Developmental Disability department and requested that they evaluate Malia. They agreed that that were delays, and made a referral to Portland Public Schools Early Intervention Program for special services suchas speech therapy, occupational therapy, and other early learning resources for children with disabilities. I also switched Malia to a pediatrician who immediately referred her for a full-scale evaluation at Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) where they have an evaluation clinic for children with disabilities.

At this point Malia was two and a half years old and this is where I began to take issue with the evaluation process.The process was a one day period where up to twelve doctors, psychologists, speech pathologists, audiologists, and occupational therapists each spent thirty minutes with Malia, evaluating her based on standard tests. After six hours with Malia, the professionals gathered together and discussed their conclusions. After their discussion, they called Malia and me in. They told me that their diagnosis for her was "a mild conductive bilateral hearing loss, language disorder and borderline intelligence."That was all the information they gave me, other than to tell me that Malia's pediatrician would receive a report and follow-up accordingly.

No special suggestions or support were offered to me or to Malia. I did not know the exact meaning of "borderline intelligence" at the time, so I assumed it meant her intelligence was not above average but not below. I found out at her second evaluation two years later that it means low intelligence, bordering on mental retardation. I followed up on the hearing loss with an Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor and Malia had her tonsils and ...

... middle of paper ...

...lp the examiners have a more complete understanding of the child.

Another idea that I listed was to have the professional spend more time exploring the child's strengths andpossibilities in order to aid in designing a special program in which the child would thrive. I have spent the past four years being angry with the clinic at OHSU. I can truly say that all of this channeling and exercising (PMI and APC) has helped me to have a better understanding of why the testing is as it is, how it affects us, and most importantly, that a closed mouth does not get fed. If I want changes, I now understand that I have to speak up and talk to someone who can do something about it. Now that I am more clear about the process, I can offer something positive to help other families avoid the pain and anger thatI have endured. Knowing this, and feeling good about the road ahead, is a very good place for me to start. The most important realization for me is that Malia is still Malia, regardless of any label they placed upon her. In conclusion, whether or not I make a difference in modifying the evaluation process, I know that Malia is and always will be the same wonderful child she has always been.

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