Friday, August 22, 2008

This is my Early Intervention Speech

Hello, Choir.
I will be your preacher today.


Let's do a quick vocabulary review, shall we?
Early: 1.in or during the first part of a period of time, a course of action, a series of events, etc.: early in the year.
Intervention: 1.the act or fact of intervening.

Oh, that didn't do it for you? Still not clear?
Let's try this:
Extra Early Childhood Education With Experts For Free (or nearly).

Does that make more sense?

Because if I hear one more parent of a two year old tell me that they are going to 'wait and see', or even worse, that their doctor told them not to worry, and let's take another look in a few months....well, I am going to stick ice picks in my ears to ease the pain.
A few months.
The difference of a few months may be the difference in your child's ability to learn for the rest of their life. The difference of a few months could mean the distinguishable difference in your intelligence as a parent.

Here's something you should know.
You can self-refer your child for an assessment at your local Regional Center. You don't have to wait for Dr. MeansWellButIsMisinformed to agree with your concerns or your gut.
You don't need a prescription or a referral. You just need to call.

Here's something else you should know.
Early Intervention ends at age three, at which time your precious flower will be thrown to the wolves attended to by an emotionally bereft and financially strapped school district. The funding for Special Help ends at age three. My son will likely go from six hours a week of speech therapy to 1/2 hour (or one hour, if I have to pull out my sabre-teeth, I will).
So don't miss the Early in Early Intervention. You may be sorry you did, but you will still be screwed.

I am an advocate for EI, this is true. Which is why it makes me absolutely batty to hear parents who I love, parents who are watching our path with Bubbles, dismiss EI as an option for their child. No, not every child needs EI. But some do. And when a friend, a mother, asks me how many words her child 'should' have at age two, and the answer is clearly a number much higher than what she has recorded, and then her response is to muse out loud, "Well, I guess we'll wait a bit and see..."
IT REALLY FREAKS ME OUT and puts me to the test. Can I resist the podium? Can I stop myself from sounding like a bandwagon driver if she merely thinks I am trying to get her to jump on mine?
So far, I am silent. But it is a test. (Silence itself, is a test for me.)
I will answer her questions, but I will not sound the alarm. I will not be the one she remembers as She Who First Suggested Imperfection.

But, by giving her this space, this respect for her own realizations and her own timetable, I contend with my own guilt. This guilt over the betrayal of a child somehow, with the knowledge and firm belief that It Would Help.

I understand her hesitancy to ask for help, her reticence to need help.
Fear is nothing to be ashamed of, and it is legitimate. But the fear lies in the discovery of something else; not so much in the help.

Who among us as parents, are able to push beyond the fear, through the fear, to a place of just being? To a place of allowing our children to be who they are, and then walking that fine line between maintaining the acceptance of our childrens' capabilities, and wanting to show them that the possibilities for their potential may be limitless.


Teach your children well.

10 comments:

Debbie said...

Well put.
I usually tell people that it never hurts to get an evaluation and that they should consider how there is no stigma attached to a young child being in therapy. And the fact that it can't hurt, right?
But I know what you mean. It was definitely hard for me to hear my BIL say that he was worried about M when he was a year old and took me a couple of months to call EI. But I think for me the biggest part of that was because I KNEW something was wrong already. I'd asked my *stupid* ped. about it since he was about 6 months old. I, being as stubborn as I am, didn't want others to think that I wasn't the one to discover this issue. Sounds so stupid, but that was how I felt back then. Ugh.

Casdok said...

Great post!
I am a big fan of early intervention too.

Judy said...

In Virginia it is called the Infant & Toddler Connection of Virginia. http://www.infantva.org/
They have both federal and state funding. You are right, the eval is free. I am not sure about the referral part. Here, they come to your home. Payment is a sliding scale if you have a co-pay.
We are getting an eval this week for my son's feeding difficulties. He is in therapy thru the local Children's hospital and we go to them. The cool thing is that the Infant and Toddler Connection will come to my home, do and eval and it is not charged to my insurance. This means that I can decide which therapist/program I prefer.
If any of you are unhappy with the therapy your child is getting, this could be an option to look into a new therapist without 'breaking up' with your current one. (just a note, we love his current therapist, but home OT for feeding aversions is appropriate. When he is older with a sports injury, then outpatient is best.)
I am an adult/neuro physical therapist. All this baby stuff is new to me. Finding out about this program was terrific.
thanks for the post!

Bennie said...

Amen! Preach it, girl!

Thank God we had a neonatologist who had the foresight to diagnose Ben with something so he'd be welcome into the EI program in our state. In fact Early Intervention is the key to everything - health, abilitation, speech, fulfillment - in just about every child born with his same genetic syndrome.

Really. What is the upside for waiting? The downside all bad.

The Turtle and the Monkey said...

I find it frustrating to know that there are parents not reaching out for these services when I am begging them to decide that Monkey is delayed ENOUGH for them to provide services. He is turning two and I am also wanting to get therapy in place before the magical window closes. He has already been in the program, so they know his history. We aren't so lucky to have a well funded program. They are short staffed so unless it is a big delay, they tend to put you off. Can I borrow your sabre-teeth? We go next week for an eval, I may need them.

Great Post.

Bree said...

When my son was little (6 months) he began to get ear infections and had one after another until he was two, at which time, our doc finally put him on antibiotic therapy - and then they were gone. But the damage had been done. The poor kid hadn't heard a word for a year and a half and he by this point, was hearing like he was under five feet of water. So at two he was only saying 'da' because that's all he learned to say before 'deafness' had set in.

I had begged for tubes in his ears and reported a speech delay since... well SINCE IT ALL BEGAN, and finally at two and a half, our doc suggested speech therapy. MY LORD! A two and a half year old that says 'da' for everything from 'I want milk' to 'good night.' Not kidding.

He spent only a year in therapy but it was such a fight to get him there.

I feel your pain. I wish you luck in dealing with the situation, and I wish I had great advice. Sadly, I have nothing but to keep being your child's biggest and LOUDEST advocate.

EE said...

I truly believe that EI has made all the difference in my (apraxic) son's life.
Well said...

Squid said...

well done. I are linked to this post.

Shannon and Carey said...

Again, can't agree with you more. I was told my so many people, "He doesn't need services" "He'll talk when he's ready".............I'm glad I listened to my doc and got Porter in ECI. It's worked wonders and we are all very happy here. Biting has decreased to almost zero. I loved EDI and now we are down to once per month. (Porter didn't have an extreme delay, but there was concern).
-Shannon in Austin

For the Long Haul said...

I couldn't agree more. We had suck/chew/swallow issues at less than a year old so we knew our son would need therapies. But...here's where I screwed up. I paid OUT OF POCKET for all of his therapies until he was a little over 2. Once we went with early intervention, all the therapies were paid completely. Now we are looming in on the dreaded 3rd year where EI ceases and again, I will most likely be responsible for paying for his speech therapy. You made an excellent point. I wish I could have read this post a year ago...thank you!