|When looking for a pic to put at the top of this post~|
this one seemed to perfectly symbolize what I am feeling~
with this commentary,
Bridges~you can either build them or burn them.
We were asked several times to comment on Babies Can't Wait by emailing Chase Bolds or presenting your comments/complaints in person at several open forums about Babies Can't Wait around the state. I chose to email. I am sharing this email today because I FINALLY got a response from him today.
(Over a month after I emailed him with my concerns)
Email sent on 4/14/2011~
I would like to express opinions about the Babies Can't Wait program.
At one time, Babies Can't Wait meant the world to my family. It helped back in 2003-2004 when my daughter had a developmental delay with her speech. After surgery, she received speech therapy through Babies Can't Wait for a few months and made a complete recovery. She is now a second grader and in the gifted and talented program at her school.
I wish that I could say that we had the same positive experience in 2010, when I brought my son for an evaluation with Babies Can't Wait. It was at that first evaluation that things started to go wrong.
Knowing what I know now, I long to go back to that evaluation and tell them that if they suspected apraxia of speech they should also request an evaluation for occupational therapy. (He ran into a table and a wall during the evaluation. Clearly, he had a problem with his balance. I told them that he was clumsy and had difficulty climbing stairs, etc. I also told him that he put everything in his mouth.) This mistake cost my son almost 6 months of time without therapy or intervention.
The SLP suggested that he had apraxia of speech, but only prescribed therapy 1 time per week. (research shows that apraxic children need at least 3 to 5 therapy sessions per week) This mistake also cost my son and robbed him of the earliest and frequency of intervention.
After thoroughly researching Childhood Apraxia of Speech, I had to request that our therapy be increased and was met with resounding opposition. Finally, they agreed to "allow" us to get 2 speech therapy sessions per week. ( I say "allow" because we have to pay the 35% copay for these services)
When asking for more therapy, my former service coordinator texted me that he could only get 2 speech therapy sessions per week, end of story. I reported this to her supervisor and her supervisor's supervisor. We immediately received a new service coordinator.
After receiving our new service coordinator, I had problems with unprofessional behavior with several BCW employees during a team meeting that we had to discuss our request for more therapy and occupational and physical therapy evaluations.
After an awful meeting, that a Valdosta State Faculty member referred to as a "bar brawl"; my son was finally approved to be evaluated by OT and PT. The OT evaluation showed that he did in fact need occupational therapy for Dyspraxia of motor movement, Hypotonia and Sensory Processing Disorder. (6 months after our initial evaluation) I am still outraged that I had to fight so hard to get services that should have been offered to us at the initial evaluation.
During this meeting, several Babies Can't Wait employees were rude, condescending and even went as far as asking me if I wanted my son to be special. I was also questioned repeatedly about what was wrong with my son, having to retell his birth story and history. (when they should have read the file and been prepared for the meeting) No one should be put through what we were put through in that meeting.
We also had problems with a play therapist that is employed with Babies Can't Wait. I reported this incident to her superiors, and also emailed you.
Since reporting these issues to the Tifton office, BCW came to our house and tried to help us fill out the Katie Beckett Waiver. We have since been to the Kaufman Children's Center where my son has been diagnosed with Childhood Apraxia of Speech. We also have gone back and forth trying to get more services for our son.
Babies Can't Wait met last week and agreed to "allow" my son to receive 3 speech therapy sessions until his 3rd birthday.
It pains me that we had to go out of state for a diagnosis, to apply for countless grants to fund the therapy that honestly should be provided by Early Intervention Agencies such as BCW, and that we had to fight tirelessly with the people that are supposed to be supporting and helping us, but ultimately~I will do anything that I must to meet my child's needs.
I cannot begin to tell you about the pain and stress Babies Can't Wait has brought to my family in the past year and it is because of this that I wrote to you.
It is my hope that this letter will help shed some light on the problems with the Babies Can't Wait system.
I also hope that it will save another family from having to endure the stress, the unprofessionalism, the misdiagnosis, and the basic disregard for special needs children and their parents. I worry that parents that are not as educated and not as financially able or skillful, will not get the help for their children. The earliest of intervention is key.
I look forward to hearing your response.
Now I know you are really to know how he responded, right? His letter must be really well thought out and well planned, especially since it took him over a month to work on it. LOL!!!
Here is the email that I received 5-23-11 from Chase Bolds of Babies Can't Wait~
Thank you for your comment. I first would like to apologize to you and your family for your experience and state that I take this comment very seriously because we must provide quality, appropriate supports and services to children and families. Unprofessionalism is not tolerated and will be addressed.
In addition, we have identified and addressed training needs surrounding evaluation/assessment, service delivery and IFSP development.
Thank you again for your input as we are continually working to improve the program overall.
Chase Hall Bolds, M.Ed
Babies Can't Wait Program Manager
Office of Children and Youth with Special Needs
Maternal and Child Health Program
Division of Public Health
Georgia Department of Community Health
2 Peachtree Street, N.W. Suite 11-222
Atlanta, Georgia 30303-13422