I have been alluding to the scandal at my daycare, Village Infant & Toddler Center, but have been so exhausted with it all, I didn’t really share until now. Its so long but Im gonna give the cliffs notes version:
On friday I heard for 2 of my friends I work with (and recommended to go there) that they were called to pick up their babies immediately and that they could not come back.
Both of their teachers were fired and 8 babies were sent home and denied their daycare spot.
Someone (I was told it was a few parents but others are blaming one of the fired teacher) called the State licensing board for Ca about concerns… too many babies and babies transitioning to toddler group before they were ready.
Investigator came and sited them for 8 babies over capacity. They also were using an area for care that wasn’t permitted and didn’t even meet fire code.
We were notified but wasn’t being given satisfactory answers from the director. I also talked to the fired teachers who revealed other violations like lack of security (anyone can come into the infant toddler area), teachers were improperly documented with finger prints and background checks. They discovered that homeless were sleeping in the courtyard of the playground because of easy access and lack of security gate… and some other things.
I spent all weekend talking to terminated teachers and parents. The other PTA rep with me told me they requested she remove her child from the daycare but that they would still help her out 2 days a week “off the books” in the nursery room belonging to the church. Sooo… more illegal activity.
I had of course we decided he couldn’t stay but I hadn’t decided how quick to pull him because of logistics. We have no family nearby to help out and I am returning to work today!
Then, I got a call from Pickle’s teacher that SHE was also fired on Friday! And no one from the school notified me! They also told her that her 6 kids (min included) will probably be turned away too.
So my sister drove from out of state to help us out and stay with him this week. There is a PTA meeting on Tuesday that I plan to attend (so long as I am not called before that and told my spot is gone). I want to hear what the Director has to say. And then I will officially withdrawal him on Wednesday. So for now I am frantically, but not hastily, looking for a new daycare.
Thats the story so far! Im sure more will come to light every day.
This morning was Pickle’s speech therapy assessment. The therapist was from the same company as the Child Development therapist. They always start off the same~ asking about my pregnancy, his health and any issues. She gave him toys to interact with while she asked us so many questions. Its hard to remember them all but she asked things like can he say any words meaningfully, babble consonants, attempt to say simple words, follow simple commands, make animal sounds, say yes or no, point, recognize objects and body parts… things like that. And the short answer to those things is no. He can’t.
I always am diligent about keeping up with what he should be able to do for his age from the early intervention website HERE ever since all of this came up. Here is what they say:
In speech development, typical 18-month-olds can:
Use 10-15 words spontaneously
Attempt to sing
Say “No” meaningfully
Gesture to express needs
Name one or two familiar objects
Developmental Red Flags For 18 Month Child Speech Delays
Not using at least 15 single words
Not beginning to use 2 word phrases
Not able to follow simple instructions
The red are things he cant do. He doesn’t have any words he uses spontaneously (just saying them out loud to nothing in particular). No attempting to sing or even imitate any words or sounds we make. If he is in a mood to try, its always “aiye” kind of sound, repeated. Even if the word is duck. He can name no objects. The red flags are self explanatory. I made the “follow instructions” bullet point orange because she did ask if he could follow simple instruction and our answer was “kinda”. He can follow a command if it is a simple object that you point to and he can see, and put it somewhere he can see or bring to you. Example: Levi, get that ball (pointing) and give it to me (hand out). He couldn’t, however, follow a command of things out of site. Example: Levi, go get a diaper. I don’t even things you could ask him to go get a ball if there wasn’t one in sight.
She said he was pretty behind. More like a 9 month old. I was shocked! So I looked at the early intervention site for what 8-12 mo olds can/should do. They say:
Most 12 Month Olds can:
Say “mama” and “dada” (nonspecifically)and 2-3 words besides “mama” and “dada”
Imitate familiar words
Understand simple instructions
Recognize words as symbols for objects: car points to garage, dog barks
Babble single consonants
Shout for attention
Demonstrate an understanding of some words by gesturing or pointing
Developmental Red Flags For 12 Month Child Speech Delays
No single words
No gestures or imitation of gestures (waving, clapping, etc.)
Not beginning to recognize common objects orpeople
This is where I saw he is performing just under a 12 month old. Of course he knows his name and can babble mama & dada. And he knows who we are. But he cant call us by that to get our attention or if we suddenly come in the room, therefore its kinda nonspecific versus meaningfully. No imitating and, again, the instructions bullet point is orange for the same reason I listed above. He cant point to things you name, especially in real life. Sometimes he can correctly point to a ball or shoes in a book if you ask, but a few minutes later he is pointing to everything and you’re not sure if it was a fluke or not. No babbling consonants except for dada and sometimes “shhhh”. Definitely lots of shouting! LOL! No waving hi at all. Now pointing…. thats new… like as of ONE WEEK AGO! Another tell-tale sign that this child is a solid 6 months behind… just as he was cognitively and physically when we started those therapies.
There are a lot of good things, though. Pickle is very social and she recognized this right away, saying that this isn’t a question of confidence like many other children delayed in speech. She said cognitively he is right on and doing great. There is no concern for a diagnosis of anything other than developmental delay. We have been operating with this assumption/evaluation for a little while now but every confirmation is another sigh of relief. Of course she said that he needs speech therapy. I don’t know how often or how long until she writes her report but she said this could take a while since he is so behind. But, she doesn’t know Pickle. She doesn’t know the progress he can make once therapy begins. I hope to be pleasantly surprised as I was with his fast progression in physical therapy.
Lastly, we talked a lot about what we should focus on at home to encourage his speech. And we talked a lot about signing. She was happy that he signs so well… and learns it so quickly… but we all kinda got iffy on if we should stop teaching him more signs. It isn’t encouraging his speech. And why should he try to communicate verbally if he can more effectively communicate with signs and gestures. We didn’t come to a definite conclusion, but I will be researching it more and doing whatever is necessary to help him. Some of you may be thinking “its not like he will never talk”. Of course…. and those comments are ones I have had to deal with all along the way. But the older he gets he will only get more delayed. How could I forgive myself if I just waited it out and a few years down the road it was effecting his ability to progress in school? Or we get to the age where children can recognize those different than themselves and tease? Not to mention how much more difficult it is to get service after 3 years old. So instead ask yourself if you would be pursuing the same avenues as I… and I think you would say yes.
On this path, his delays and struggles have shown me that common objects like walkers and jumpers, though not the best, are fine for the average developing child. But they can hinder a delayed child. Even the subject of healthy educational methods that many parents swear by like Montessori methods and the above mentions sign language are not the best for every child. Montessori wouldn’t work for him because he doesn’t learn through exploration like the average developing child does. And obviously sign could potentially further delay verbal speech. I really feel that I have learned, first hand, that a good parent must recognize and accept that our littles will dictate what is best for them. And we need to listen. And sometimes that may mean accepting that your child isn’t exceptional… but I don’t mean that in a bad way. It means accepting that the best methods for teaching, learning, socializing, potty training, and parenting … even when based on the recent research and leading experts and blah blah blah… are not always best for your child. That’s my child and I love him.
Thank you for traveling this path with us. We will get there! Wherever “there” is!
Obviously, being 16 months old this past Christmas, this was not Pickle’s actual first Christmas… but it was his first one that was interactive! It was so fun to watch him discover the Xmas tree over the month of December. Being as cautious as ever and softly hooting is questioning/concerned sound . I was so pleased how gentle he was with ornaments and only broke 2! He didn’t particularly enjoy touching the tree… he has an aversion to sensory things like that… and managed to leave presents alone too! We were smart, though, and only decorated the tree and wrapped presents when he was asleep for the night. Even though it was hard to get into the Xmas spirit (something just didn’t feel like Xmas) it was far better than last year when we were dealing with the sprinkler explosion and flooding in the house!
Christmas came and we were excited to be spending it with my dad and step-mom! This was the first time we ever got an Xmas alone with them. The night before, we set out only a few Santa gifts. We got him a Sheriff Woody and my dad supplied a T-ball setup. The images I captured of Levi running down the hall to the living room are priceless. He wasn’t excited because of Xmas or Santa… he was excited simply because of your love, excitement, and attention on him! He quickly learned about unwrapping the gifts and seemed to enjoy it. A few gifts in and he was too preoccupied with the new stuff to keep going, so Craigery and I opened ours. Soon he was interested again and we finished opening the gifts. We got him: Stride Rite shoes, 5 Golden Books of Pixar stories, Bongo drums, and a Wooden food chopping set by Plan Toys. In his stocking he had things like bubbles, wooden train whistle, a Jacob’s ladder, and a giant crayon of melted crayons. Pickle had a great Christmas and got many other things from our families. I am happy to say that nothing was a dud and sports and instruments seemed to be the focus! Enjoy the photos!