- plans that identify services and supports so that family members and early education programs are actively engaged in promoting the child's learning and development.
- determines the skills/abilities and appropriate supports and services either in the natural environment or the least restrictive environment to accomplish the established goals and outcomes.
When Kamdyn was born, I literally felt lost and over my head. I don't really mind having people in my home, and I felt like the extra support, help, and ideas would help her. For us, it hasn't been anything profound or anything we couldn't have figured out on our own if we had to, but I like the extra help.
Kamdyn started Early Intervention when she was a little over 6 weeks old. She started with physical therapy(PT) and a special instructor(SI) specializing in infant massage. By 6 months, she continued with PT, SI, and we added occupational therapy (OT). Then, at around 12 months old, she started speech therapy (ST). Now, at 2, she continues to receive each of these services one hour a week. And I anticipate that she will continue this until she turns 3 and ages out of Early Intervention.
One thing about Early Intervention that I have never been crazy about are the evaluations. In Pennsylvania, a child who has a 25% delay will receive services, unless there is a diagnosis, such as Down syndrome. Down syndrome pretty much seals the deal.
So the thing that I don't like about the evaluations is that they feel pointless, since she will get services either way. As a mom of a child with special needs, I struggle to not compare my child to other kids and count, count, count when, where, and how much. It may sound simple to someone on the outside, but believe me, it's not. There are times when it's hard to hear that "little Jimmy", who has Down syndrome is the same age as Kamdyn and says 10 words. It's natural to wonder Well, why isn't Kamdyn talking more? What does that mean for her?
And it's hard not feel like this:
when a group of professionals break out the forms to "test" your child. I have a hard time watching, because I want SO badly for her to "pass", even though there is no passing. It's to evaluate where she is and what we are going to do to help her get there.
The therapists that Kamdyn has are very kind, considerate people, and they make it their goal to be positive and encouraging about where Kamdyn is. But when I'm sitting around a table while they all run down the "scores" from their test, and I have to hear things like:
8 month level for gross motor at 24 months
12 month level for speech at 24 months
After testing, these were Kamdyn's "scores":
It can be discouraging.
Now back to the IFSP. This is where the IFSP comes in, because they use it to tailor the child's services to his/her needs.
Kamdyn's goals are:
physical therapy goal: The family would like to learn ways to help Kamdyn to gain strength and move in her environment, so she can interact with her family and play with toys in her home.
The teaching strategies for this are: The team will continue to work on standing, walking with support, walking behind and push toy, and transition from stand to sit.
occupational therapy goal: The family would like to learn ways to increase Kamdyn's upper body and arm strength, as well as improve grasping and self feeding skills so that she can participate in coordinated play activities.
special instruction goal: The family would like Kamdyn to expand play skills to include appropriate use of toys/crayons/scissors/and to combine toys in pretend play.
and speech goal: The family would like suggestions on helping Kamdyn to increase her signs, vocalizations, and use of pictures that she can communicate with her peers and family members in the community.
So for me, I have accepted the evaluation as a necessary evil, because I want Kamdyn to get Early Intervention Services. I'm not crazy about it, but it is what it is, as my husband would say. Kamdyn has not yet been seen by a Down syndrome clinic, and the evaluation process is the reason that I have not pursued that yet. Do I want someone else evaluating my child? Do I want someone else telling me what chronological age her development is actually at, when I already know full well? At this point, no. But I may change my mind down the road. We'll see.
This is part of a blog hop. If you want to hop on, here it is: