Early intervention is a system of services that helps babies and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities – Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR)
When Adriana was born we were very fortunate that one of Tito’s fellow soldiers in his unit was also the parent of a child with Down syndrome. Casey and Sandy came to the hospital full of information about what we had to do to get Adriana on track with the services she needed. We met their daughter Jessica and saw firsthand what the future might look like for us. I know that having another family point us in the direction we needed to go to ensure our baby got the services she needed was very helpful.
Dr. Benjamin Spock’s “Baby and Child Care” was the go-to guide for parents. That was a great guide for a typically developing baby that was meeting their “normal” developmental milestones, not so much for a kid with low muscle tone, and had no interest in lifting her head, rolling over or crawling. Sandy recommended “Babies with Down syndrome: A New Parents’ Guide”. This book gave me height and weight charts developed for my kid, talked about developmental milestones, family life, early intervention, long story short, all the things I needed to start parenting my kid with Down syndrome.
Terms like physical and occupational therapy, special education, cognitive, eligibility, and self-help became part of our vocabulary alongside playtime, diapers, bottles, pediatricians and naps.
Adriana had a diagnosis at birth, so the pediatrician did the referral for Early Intervention services from the hospital. The hospital staff was instrumental in getting us connected with the local agency that provided the services. The Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA Center) can provide you with the local state agency charged with the provision of Early Intervention services in your state. Getting help from the hospital is not always the case; sometimes the diagnosis of developmental delay is not immediate. It may take parents to discover or know there is something different with their babies but can’t put their finger on it. Communication with your doctor or health care provider is important. Let your doctor know you have concerns during your well baby visits. Compare notes regarding developmental milestones; make a list of questions you might have. If you think your child has Developmental disabilities or delays, don’t wait to ask!
When doing your homework and research regarding your child’s diagnosis, do not to look at books or articles older than ten years old since new information, resources, protocols and expectations of what kids with disabilities can do are always changing.
All these years later, I cannot imagine our family without her. Adriana definitely keeps us on our toes, laughing , singing, cuddling and with her unstoppable curiosity.
Early Intervention Services – http://www.parentcenterhub.org/repository/ei-overview/
Deveopmental Disabilities – http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/developmentaldisabilities/facts.html