posts tagged with 'early intervention'

graduation day

Lijah had his last early intervention visit this morning (at 7:15 it was certainly early intervention). A few weeks ago he had his annual re-evaluation and it turns out he can do all the things—especially talk, which was a little bit of a surprise to us. When you're following a pair of brothers who were saying full sentences before 18 months you've maybe got some unrealistic expectations to live up to. But the professionals know better, and they told us that he didn't need any more help from them. Which is good, I suppose; though you sure can get used to someone coming by your house once a week with a bag full of toys!

It seems like the biggest thing with Lijah is that he wanted more direct instruction in lots of areas than we had been giving him. I guess there were some distractions that kept us from paying as much attention to him as we should have? But even back when he was just a little guy trying to learn to sit up, he caught on super quick once the developmental specialist showed him how it was done. Then his PT taught him how to walk, and he learned to wave it play group... See, it does take a village: a village of professionals! We're very grateful.

When we first started posting about early intervention, we ran into angry objections from a (distant) friend who worried we were forever stigmatizing our little guy be revealing that he needed help. We never would have thought of that: our neighborhood pals are uniformly pro-intervention, and all happily shared their positive stories with us as we waited (not very long) for Lijah to get services. Which I think is how it should be. It's a weakness to not be able to accept help, and we feel only fortunate to have been in a position to be helped by the fine folks at Minute Man Arc. And it wasn't Lijah's problem anyways, it was ours! I feel like it would be wrong not to share our experience: believing that intervention is in any way stigmatizing will only keep people from getting the services they need.

So: Lijah needed help from early intervention, because his parents weren't giving him the feedback he was looking for. They helped him out! And now he's all our job again, but he can sit, and walk, and even dance!

Lijah standing next to the stage at church during worship; the bass player is looking at him

just being part of worship

And also distract bass players...


growing up too fast and not fast enough

Harvey lost his first tooth last night. This morning he asked me to help him sew a little bag to keep it with him always. (The tooth fairy is not a thing in our household because I believe in removing all the magic from childhood.) Harvey pressed the pedal of the sewing machine and guided the fabric himself. Here he is pressing the reverse button to make a knot.

those chubby hands atop my machine make me swoon

And here he is 15 minutes later with the finished project. His baby tooth is inside the bag and no longer at the bottom of his mouth.

Harvey smiling to show his missing tooth and holding the bag he made for it

triumphant big boy and seamster Harvey

Meanwhile, Zion is reliably potty trained within our house. He received a big plastic pirate ship as his present for using the potty. Both the ship and Zion's swift mastery of toileting are pretty epic.

no pants makes the whole process easier

In every way my babies are growing up so fast.

Well... maybe not all my babies. Elijah is still mostly doing the same stuff. Smiling, being carried around. Nursing.

happy as long as he being held

For several weeks I've been complaining that Elijah seems behind in his fine motor development. At six months both Harvey and Zion could sit up and play intentionally with a toy. They'd shake a rattle, bang it on something, and bring it to their mouthes. Elijah is able to hold a toy and gnaw it, but that's the extent. He doesn't seem to be able to get the "right" part in his mouth, and to my mind he's frustrated by his lack of coordination. Also he refuses to sit, though he's pretty happy about EVERYTHING ELSE. That could be the reason he's not progressed as quickly as his brothers. He's just so jolly content to be a baby, why would he try to do anything else?

I'm a cutie, love me.

I decided to get Elijah evaluated by Early Intervention to see if the experts agree with me that he's a month behind. Early Intervention is a government-mandated program that provides free specialist services to any child who falls below the 30th percentile in an area of development. Evaluation is paid for by insurance and completely free to end users. To qualify for services a child has to be significantly delayed in one specific area, either gross motor, fine motor, communication, or social. You can't have a child who's a little bit of a loser across the board... I mean you can but you won't get help for it.

The baby evaluation team came out to my house yesterday - a nurse, a nutritionist and an OT. They asked me a lot of questions and ran Elijah through a series of tests, all while filling in the little circles in a standardized test workbook. "SI A is a 2" the nutritionist would say to the nurse taking notes, and I would think to myself "Two is good? Which is to say, it's bad?"

At the end of an hour they tallied up all Elijah's scores. Vindication, he IS about a month behind in his fine motor development. His ability to grasp a toy and vaguely put it to his mouth (but not reach for a rasin or transfer one hand to the other) puts him squarely at a 5-month level. This is not enough to qualify him for services, however. He's in 35th percentile for fine motor which just isn't bad enough.

"But he did qualify for services," the nurse told me, "just not in any area you were worried about. He qualified for his communication."

Oh. Apparently my child is supposed to be making sounds or something.

Maybe I never noticed before because there's so much other noise in the house, but he's supposed to be linking consonants and vowels in a stream of babbel. Or at least copying the noises I make when I repeat his sounds back to him. He doesn't do any of that yet. Instead he's just smiles back happily, glad for the attention.

I never noticed it before; to me he communicates just fine. He silently whispers, "I'm the baby; love me." And I comply. What else is there to know?

The good news is that qualifying for Early Intervention in this area gives him access to all services for all the areas where he's behind. This means he'll get help for sitting and for playing, as well as the areas I was neglecting. Even though I feel like a bit of a boob, I'd call that a win all around.

Having three children is harder than having two, to say something stunningly obvious. I hate to admit that each of my children get less of me, because that's an argument against my decision making and religious family planning and everything else. But practically, it's true; each of my children gets a little less Mama because there are two others vying for my attention. I don't know what this means for the future. For the time being I'm just grateful for a little bit of extra help.