Our girly qualified for Early Intervention services.
Our sweet lovely amazing daughter is delayed.
I don’t want it to be that way.
But it is.
And it’s no surprise either.
We went into international adoption with our eyes wide open, preparing for the worst and praying for the best. Her delays were completely expected.
There’s a dichotomy in my heart. I want everything to be perfect for her. I want it to be easy. And yet I don’t. I know that there are wonderful blessings in overcoming. But then I see and hear how wonderfully the other children adopted from her orphanage around the same time and/or same age are doing. How “advanced” they are. Potty trained. Speaking words and sentences. A vocabulary so big it’s hard to keep track. Gross motor skills beyond her’s. Better muscle tone and strength.
And she’s just not.
And it’s ok.
I’ll continue repeating my mantra… there are blessings in overcoming.
So why is there something in my heart that takes pause when I think about the delays my girl has? I mean, I expected this, right? I was mentally prepared for this… right?
So why does the label hurt?
Maybe being mentally prepared and having your child that you’ve fallen so amazingly and deeply in love with, officially labeled are two different things entirely.
Yet, we’re thankful that we have the resources to get the assistance she needs.
Enter – Early Intervention.
Both Tess and Jude qualified for Early Intervention when they were 1 year old. So I referred Mimi to be evaluated as soon as came home from China. Yes, you can refer your own child. And yes, I did it online because in reality I’m more likely to follow through with things that are easy peasy. I Googled “Early Intervention” and my state and quickly found the referral form and clicked send. I received a phone call within a couple days and had an evaluation in our home in a couple weeks after that. They evaluated Mimi in many areas, including, gross and fine motor skills, speech, cognitive delays. She qualified with significant speech delays.
Mimi has speech therapy, in our home, once per week.
Enter – Betsy, our speech therapist and now my friend.
Through Early Intervention, we had 8 therapy sessions a week with Tess and Jude. They were 12 months old when they came home so truth-be-told, 1 session per week now feels like cake. So far with our 3 kiddos that have been in Early Intervention we have had speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, eating/food therapy, cognitive/emotional assistance, and a couple more specific programs I can’t remember.
A few take away notes.
—For the most part, we schedule times that work for our schedule. I’m not horribly picky about times, but then again, it doesn’t do us much good if 6 other kids are mulling around interfering during speech therapy. So we usually schedule morning sessions when the other children are out of the house.
—Almost all the therapy we’ve done has been in our home. No need to load up in the car and spend time driving to and from appointments. It’s taken me a bit to get past the therapists seeing my dust bunnies and morning hair. But they really don’t care.
—Early Intervention services run till our child is 3 years old. At the child’s 3rd birthday, the program (and I believe it’s this way in other states) transfers to a pre-school setting run by our local school district.
—Therapists differ in their styles. If therapy feels like a waste of your time, (and I had a couple that were) ask for a different therapist. For the most part, I think we really had wonderful very professional and knowledgable therapists that loved their jobs.
—I love the fact that while I sit and watch these therapy sessions, and sometimes helping out, I’m learning how to help and interact with my child all day every day. These weekly reminders of how to help her are invaluable.
—Every week I have an opportunity to talk with a professional and ask questions. Just this week I asked our speech therapist, Should we be building her vocabulary at this point or putting more effort into combining 2 and 3 words phrases? Could she be loctose intolerant? and How many words should a 26 month old be speaking? It’s a wonderful resource at my fingertips every single week.
—Almost all the sessions we’ve had, have been entirely play based. We play and learn all at the same time. The children have loved their therapy and genuinely look forward to it. They are giddy when they hear the doorbell ring and run to greet their friend (therapist) at the door.
—It takes a while to get into the Early Intervention system, get evaluated, and get therapy scheduled. So this go around, we wasted no time getting Mimi referred. It took about 2 months from the day I sent her referral till the first therapy session. And since it only lasts until she is 3 years old, I’m glad we didn’t waste any time. After all, studies prove that the earlier services are started, the better they work.
—Did I mention that all of this is free to us? And that even the evaluation is free? Yea, it is! Would it happen if it wasn’t? Maybe not.
3 and a half years later, Tess still qualifies for speech services. When she starts Kindergarten in the fall, she will continue to get extra assistance. Even though Mimi was adopted a year older than Tess, Mimi’s delays aren’t as significant. And we don’t think Mimi will need the therapy as long as her older sister.
Like I mentioned, I wish our sweeties didn’t need the extra help. But I’m so so very thankful that I live in a community that helps us get that help when we need it.
Because after all, there really are blessings in overcoming.