Since NVLD causes social, academic, and motor challenges it isn’t unusual to receive multiple special education services. These include: Speech therapy for social and communication deficits, Occupational therapy for motor skills deficits, and Resource room for academic intervention. For a good percentage of students, accepting that you need services can be difficult (especially during the teenage years!), however, in the long run you will be happy you did.
Speech Therapy is often the hardest to accept. Practicing oral motor and social skills can trigger feelings of embarrassment. This was so true for me and it led to some challenges for me and my therapist. Fortunately despite these challenges I was able to meet my goals. However, after four years of working together the challenges grew deeper, so after 10+ plus years of speech we decided it was time to end speech services. Today I realize this was a mistake as my speech therapist did an exceptional job treating my oral apraxia and pragmatic language difficulties. I am also grateful my stubbornness didn’t lower my therapist’s commitment to work with me as I wouldn’t have achieved all that I did without it.
Occupational therapy can also be hard to accept as fine motor skills weaknesses are so noticeable. Unlike the other therapies, switching to indirect therapy is relatively common so accepting this service is often easier. However, some feel embarrassed having the therapist checking in on them so many including myself decide to remove this service. Today I realize this was a mistake as use of fine motor skills is constant throughout a person’s life.
The service that traditionally is easiest to accept is Resource room; here direct instruction is provided in small groups. However, challenges can still exist. For instance, accepting the need for testing accommodations such as tests read, or extended time, or a scribe for written assignments can be hard. For me this was difficult and it made me feel so “stupid” which created many challenges for me. Thankfully I quickly removed this negative thought so my teacher and I developed a strong working relationship.
Overall, as difficult as it is to accept the support services on your IEP, especially as you get older, I can’t stress enough how important it is, as a strong commitment level on your part leads to success. This can start by being open and honest about your personal feelings– I know from my difficult speech experience that hiding everything only made the situation worse. Follow up by maintaining a “never give up attitude” and you will appreciate the support you received even more after you see how much you have accomplished. It’s not easy, though I strongly believe in the end you will be very proud knowing that, by working together with all your service providers, you reached your maximum potential.
I love to beat the odds and believe taking full advantage of all your support is truly the first step!Share your own story