The Evaluation and Labeling of Children with Disabilities.
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 such.
as 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.