I received a call from the woman handling my daughter’s case through the local special education cooperative in my county on Monday. I was told that she received the report and had a chance to look it over. While she said my daughter’s scores were good, the selective mutism is something that will affect her performance. So, she said she was going to discuss this with the staff psychologist and see about getting an IEP and quite possibly getting her into the special needs preschool.
Since she was bringing up the very good possibility of getting her into the special needs preschool, I had asked about the possibility of getting her into the one that is located within the elementary school she will attend for K (because apparently there will be more than one special needs preschool). She said she couldn’t guarantee it. But, I did tell her it made a whole lot of sense to do that, since she would be entering in that school for K and they would be familiar with her case.
After we spoke, I have thought of some other advantages to allowing her into that one:
1. Her sister already attends that school for K and will return for 1st next year. We drop her off so she’s very familiar with parts of the school. Her sister may even offer a sense of security.
2. It’s 8 blocks from home. Why ship her out someplace else when I can drive her to the same place I’m already going.
3. She will have an easier transition to K because she’ll be familiar with the building.
4. The school staff will be familiar with her case and with her, so they can understand her better.
I’m hoping beyond all hope that she gets there. If not, I’ll take her where they put her, but I really hope they can do it where it makes the most sense.
I have asked a few other mothers online what their experiences with special needs preschools have been and all of them seem to think it is a wonderful program. I’m hoping ours would be as well.
If she doesn’t get into any program, then I don’t know what all will happen. I have her registered at the private preschool she attended this year (there are no public preschool programs aside from the special needs ones), but I don’t know what they’d put into the IEP.
But to help with that, I have some ideas. One of which is An Integrated Treatment Approach for selective mutism from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. The treatment team would consist of the child, the parents, the teacher, a psychotherapist, and and SLP. Given the fact that the private school has no SLPs on staff, I have no idea how they’d get extra help.
One thing that I am glad to have seen in the above link, is that while anti-anxiety medications are sometimes used, that it says that while they can reduce associated anxiety symptoms, they do nothing to target the mute symptoms. It goes on to say that parents and professionals should not expect medications to “cure” mutism.
You can bet I’m bringing a copy of this article to the IEP meeting so that they know that medication is not the route we will be employing at this time.
Plus, there’s the whole sensory integration issues, which is the “source” (for lack of a better term) of the mutism. I’m pretty sure the private school will not be amenable to sensory OT within the classroom. We will try some therapies privately, of course, namely in something called Feldenkrais (which is to help with body awareness and integration of the senses), but we are hoping that the spec. ed. preschool can provide some sort of sensory soothing activities while in the classroom (don’t know about that). Or at the very least, some much needed social skills training (as she has underdeveloped social skills – she can’t easily enter groups, she has trouble making friends, managing conflict, and dealing with disappointment).
Well, I will keep updating this as thing unfolds. I sure hope to get back to my original purpose of blogging: trying to figure out how best to re-enter the work force someday. But as you can see, it’s a very good thing I’m at home right now to work on this. Running to appointments and eventually to therapies will take up a great deal of my time.