As part of our son’s growth and progress, reading is yet another challenge we are working towards overcoming. The first step has been to find an Education Specialist for reading therapy.
His first grade teacher called us in for our parent/teacher conference and what we already knew was confirmed. He was struggling with his reading. This should not have come as a complete shock but hearing the difficulties he was having and knowing that I did not personally have the skills to assist him was hard to hear nonetheless. Of course I set about researching and trying to figure out what steps we needed to take to get him on track and to help me learn how to teach him and get him over these hurdles.
First, we went to his speech therapist that he visited weekly and talked to her about our concerns. We went to her first because she is working with him weekly on his speech and we believed she could point us in the direction we needed to take with regards to reading. Speech and language are all connected and I simply did not know where to start.
Through a great deal of research and phone calls I was led back to his initial speech therapist, Julia Hobbs Speech Pathology and I’m so glad I did! She and her staff, Angie of course kicked it into high gear and began putting things into motion. Gavin was coming up on his Spring Break and they were able to maneuver schedules and get us in for an evaluation with an Education Specialist they were raving about. We went and it was a 2 hour evaluation with a break at about the 1 hour mark. Gavin was a champ and made it through the evaluation giving them everything they needed to get a true assessment of what specifically were his challenges.
It was interesting to hear the specifics of where he was faltering and they assured us that he would overcome these obstacles and be well on his way with his reading and writing. The only thing was the cost of seeing a specialized therapist and the insurance not covering it. Our son needed this help so we were going to have to figure it out but it was not going to be easy. That and his speech therapist quit in the middle of it so not only were we in the middle of trying to figure out how to get him the help he needed reading but we needed to find a new speech therapist that specialized in working with cleft affected children! Geez, when it rains it pours people….
I am happy to say that there are very generous people out there and our fabulous extended family over at Julia’s office took the liberty of applying Gavin for a grant through St. John’s Hospital to cover his Education Specialist. We got this fabulous phone call from Julia informing us that it would all be covered for one year and we could begin therapy the following week. On top of that the therapist lived near us and was willing to come to our home to work with Gavin rather than having us drive all the way to the West Side during the week. Great news! I don’t have to drive on the 405 and I don’t have to pay? Ah, the catch. There was one. There always is, isn’t there? The therapist was full with her schedule and could only see our son at 2 p.m. even though he gets out of school at 3:12 p.m. ( I know, 3:12 right? Seriously…) I was able to get in touch with his teacher after school and explain the situation to her. She understood his need for this specialized therapy and told me not to worry about it that we would figure it out so that he wasn’t missing everything in that last hour each week. She would double up on his homework and send it home for us to do or move things around so that he was learning those lessons earlier in the day.
What a blessing it is to be able to have all of these people around us working together to make sure that Gavin gets what he needs. It makes things hard for everyone and schedules are thrown off but somehow it all comes together and begins to work. Gavin is getting the help he needs and I am learning how to help him even more here at home. He is starting with a new speech therapist and she knows his Education Specialist quite well so they are keeping in contact and making sure they are coordinating their efforts to make sure Gavin is getting the absolute most out of his therapy.
A great deal has happened and all in a short time but it is true when quoted that all things happen for a reason. Perhaps this is the change that we all needed in order to facilitate this next phase in our son’s care. It’s a new chapter for all of us and I continue to be amazed and grateful to those we have around us caring for Gavin and wanting him to succeed and share in his successes as much as we do.
So much love to Julia Hobbs and her team of specialists! Angie – you are a force to be reckoned with and you get things done just like you say you will! To Mrs. Z. for her willingness to work around Gavin’s school schedule and allow him to leave an hour early each week for his therapy while making sure he is still getting the work he needs to complete in class, done. To my parents who enjoy getting a weekly dinner with our daughter as we are no longer at home in the evening one night a week for speech therapy – thank you! My village – my people – I love you!
- First Day with Education Specialist