Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Right Choice?

I just brought Rayyan to one of the 'speech therapy' sessions appointed by the hospital. It was a complete waste of time and cab fares! Worse, it made me realise even more how feeble and lackadaisical our infrastructure is when it comes to special needs.

I thought that they would do some interesting stuffs to get him to make sounds (of coz I didn't expect Rayyan to talk!) or at least, teach me the techniques on how to get him to talk but no, it was an assessment. Assessment for what?! I was told it was the protocol, they need to assess his level of understanding, his hearing, his attention span, etc, etc....

Rayyan was made to point at different things, was given a few things to play with and was made to hear different sounds. While he was doing the different tasks, the therapist went through the checklist and recorded his actions. I saw a couple of ticks and many crosses and I got frustrated! I am not defending my boy here. I know Rayyan has poor eye contact, I know that his auditory comprehension is weak, I know that he has limited play but there were a couple of things that the therapist asked him to do that were above his capacity. I think that he simply didn't respond because the therapist's voice was too soft and her diction was poor. Even a normal kid would have difficulty comprehending her instructions. On top of that, I think the therapist is inexperienced because she kept referring to the notes in front of her as a guide.

What infuriated me I guess was the fact that all these notes would be in his record, would be with him all his life. When I first went to see the doctor, I was told that he will be assessed at about 3 years old and then if he needs help, he will go for EIPIC. Then he will be assessed again at about 6 years old to see if he is suitable for mainstream schools. So I know that all these nitty gritty stuffs will go into his record. And he deserves to have a fair and accurate assessment of his abilities, even though the assessment is somewhat an informal one. Is it fair for him to have his future 'stamped' by an inexperienced therapist?

I have heard of parents who refused to go to the government hospitals because they don't want their children to be labelled and discriminated against. Some would rather spend money to have their children assessed privately and then go on helping their children on their own. Now I understand why. I have heard of parents who would rather send their children to international schools which have better support for children with special needs. Now I understand why.

Apart from the EIPIC (which I am still queueing for), the other sessions I go to so far are fruitless. After the check-up at the hospital, I was given three slots for Occupational Therapy (OT) and two slots for Speech Therapy (ST). The OT sessions were so far apart from each other that I didn't think it was beneficial at all. In fact, the therapist was on MC during the last session and I was told to book another slot which would be about two months later!! I told them to just cancel the session as he is already going to SPD in January. Then the ST are not really therapy sessions but assessments!! Gosh!

When I first went to a polyclinic to have his development checked, I was keen on helping my son. That was my main concern. I was also thinking that by going there, it would somehow help financially. Now I wonder if I made the right choice...