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The Evaluation And Labeling Of Children With Disabilities

1706 words - 7 pages

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 adenoids removed, her ear drums pierced and drained and "PE tubes" put in.

The ENT doctor told me to expect a full recovery immediately following the surgery, including her delayed development.Since the original diagnosis, Malia has been evaluated and re-diagnosed twice as well as having another surgery to correct her hearing that fell below average again. She has more than eight different diagnostic labels including; Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, Low Cognitive Functioning, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Mild Retardation, Language...

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