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1/20/2005
a friend needs help with assessment
Hat in Hand (in full):
I don't know who here can possibly help me, but one doesn't know until one asks. As some of you know, Gerry and I live in Chicago. We have two daughters. Our elder daughter, Maura, is severely handicapped. One of her handicaps is that she's unable to speak for the most part. I need to find someone who is an expert in dealing with children with multiple handicaps who can evaluate for hidden intelligence. We've had her evaluated, but the report was inconclusive as to what her potential may or may not be. I just discovered that our choice was not the best one because, while this person may be very qualified when it comes to assessing verbal children, he may not have been the best at figuring out children who cannot talk. I hesitate to say nonverbal because there is now a recognized learning disability called Nonverbal Learning Disorder, but this applies to people who are verbal but autistic. Getting her what she needs in order to have an optimal education is an uphill battle. We have had minimal success in even getting a two-object talker for her. Meanwhile, she is being warehoused in a special ed situation that is barely more than glorified pre-school. I don't know if anyone here knows people who knows people. I have been exploring a variety of options. UCP and Easter Seals thus far have been useless to me. I need to find someone who can read body language and visual cues etc. In six years, there's only been one teacher who "got" what Maura is about. Unfortunately, her assessment is being superceded by other people who are not as intuitive or as interested in seeing her for the individual she is. I need someone who can read her and help me prove that she is being incorrectly assessed. All they want to do is get her to a place where she can function some day in a group home. Even if it turns out she's not college material, she deserves a better future than what they are offering. Thanks in advance to anyone who can help me solve this. I also dream of a person who is a cross between Mary Poppins and Annie Sullivan who can help us unlock her brain. We have the people in place helping her unlock her body, and we feel very fortunate to have them. Now we just have to have the rest in place.
Angel, Second Class, reporting