Thursday, January 24, 2008


Or, in fandom slang: my indignant, spluttering outrage, let me show you it.

All me to set the scene.

It's mid-December, and Speech Person DFT is asking me about Elastigirl's communication.  The conversation, at one point, veers off into the difference between "modeling," "prompting," and "cueing."

DFT:  So, you're saying that Elastigirl only communicates verbally after you model something for her?

Me:  I wouldn't call it modeling, in the sense that she has no idea what to say until I model it for her with the expectation that she repeats it, no.

DFT:  But she doesn't come up with the words on her own?

Me:  Very rarely, but generally not.  She doesn't respond well to outright requests, like "Elastigirl, say 'more.'"  But if you say, "Elastigirl, do you want more?" she'll say "more."

DFT:  So you're saying she's echolalic?

Me:  Not in the usual sense of the term, no.  To me, it looks like she has a word-retrieval problem.  Like, the word is there, but for whatever reason, she can't access it without the auditory cue first.

DFT:  Oooh, I don't think so.  I think it's just because her developmental level is so low.

Me:  (skeptically)  Okay....

Today, during Elastigirl's IEP meeting (in which she transcribed several of Elastigirl's most common phrases incorrectly, and did not know the name of Elastigirl's communication device -- which is not a surprise, given that I'm the one that located it and used PTA funds to buy it, because she wanted to give Elastigirl a Big Mack (a.k.a. the giant flying projectile that will bash someone's brain in) rather than her TalkTrac (a.k.a. the small and light device that can be attached to things)) the following exchange occurred:

DFT:  Elastigirl almost never verbalizes spontaneously but she will inconsistently repeat a verbal prompt.  Though (looks at me) I don't know that 'prompt' is the right word.

Me:  No, I don't think so.  Like I said when we were speaking before, it's not a prompt in the sense of "Here, Elastigirl, let me tell you how to do this thing you've never done before."

DFT:  Right.  In fact, (pause, then look of dawning realization, then direct eye contact with mom) you know, it looks almost like she has a word-retrieval problem, and she needs that auditory cue in order to retrieve the word.

Me:  *($R#(#$($*#*$(#*($ WHAT???????

(Okay, not really, but I did gape at her and mutter very quietly under my breath to Principal SDF, "That's what I told her and she told me no!")

I very rarely have actual issues with DFT -- she annoys me, and I see very little value in what she does with any kids who have any issues beyond just articulation -- but between what she did in December and first dismissing my opinion (while telling me Elastigirl does not need speech services because I know her best) and then using my hard-won observation to sound good is just wrong.

Don't get me wrong -- I know that the ultimate goal here is to help Elastigirl become a better communicator.  So in the end, it doesn't really matter whose idea it was.

But that's the thing -- it doesn't matter whose idea it was, so why pass that idea off as your own brilliant on-the-spot brainstorm?

But it was an IEP meeting, and I'd have hated it if she'd openly questioned me during one, so I let it go.

My diplomacy, let me show you it.

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