PLS-4

Pearson’s Pre-School Language Test No. 4

In the world of the deaf, these tests are conducted 6 monthly as a means of assessing your child’s receptive and expressive language against the normal distribution. Essentially you get an overall ‘age’ and then a breakdown of your child’s age for each discipline.

One of the whole points behind AVT is to narrow the language gap your CI child has at switch on. Your child should be assessed soon after switch on and the gap between their actual age and their PLS age is the gap you need to close. In an ideal world, every time your child is tested, this ‘language gap’ will narrow. The be-all and end-all is for it to be zero.

Zero equals age appropriate speech and language.

Zero is what we dream of.

When Alice was switched on her actual age was two years, her first PLS was 11 months (essentially saying she had the language capability of an 11 month old).

Today, just over 18 months after switch on, Alice is 3 years and 10 months old and her overall PLS-4 score was 3 years 7 months. This is biased in favour of her receptive language (where Alice is now 47th percentile measured against the general population) as her expressive language (25th percentile) still lags a bit.

We both cried.

I think we are winning

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It’s been a long time….

Christmas came and went, the snow, the flu, the presents and before we knew it, the new year and a fresh dose of reality had come along.

2011’s projects are thus:

1) Get Alice another ear

2) Sort out Alice’s statement.

On the first point, just before Christmas we were back to St. George’s to see David Selvadurai. We had been delaying the inevitable on this one. In our opinion (for what it’s worth) there are three reasons for getting a second implant done:

  • Better directional hearing
  • Better hearing in background noise.
  • A plan B should one implant fail.

It was a great relief when David said he, like us, thinks of the third point as the most important. The other two are marginal and the evidence largely annecdotal (albeit getting better). The third point is unthinkable. What if Alice’s current implant fails or she gets an infection meaning it has to be removed?

Silence.

Alice wouldn’t cope. She is now, to all intents and purposes, a hearing child during the day and thinks of herself as such. If the implant failed, it would take weeks if not months for a new surgery, switch-on and mapping and that’s assuming it works. Worse still, if she had an infection that meant they removed the implant, they wouldn’t put a new one in for 6 months.

It doesn’t bear thinking about and with that in mind, the decision was made. Back to assessments and regular visits to St. George’s with a view to receiving no.2 in late April. Gulp.

On the statement front, despite all the ups and downs, we finally got there. Got where? is a question I am not sure I can answer yet.

There is an inevitability about the painfulness of negotiating a statement. The Local Authority will do everything in their power to scrimp, save and defer whilst you fight for what you know is best. The outcome, it won’t surprise you to hear is that we are off for a family day out at the Tribunal. Alice’s statement is, shall we say, pretty poor and has more holes in than a swiss cheese. In the absence of negotiation on the key points, a Tribunal is the only way forward. I’m quite up for it – I like to argue.

On a serious note, there can be no doubt that these harsh economic times have dealt a blow to those children who need a statement. An already unsatisfactory process has become even more difficult. What’s more, when the Authority admit the decisions are made on the grounds of cost, not what is best (provision need only be adequate, not the best in class) you realise how much this world stinks.

I can’t wait.

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