Early Intervention for Who?

Doing our best to keep this behind us. Photo by tswicegood

Here’s the best kept secret that only parents of kids who are taking their time talking and developing know about: Early Intervention Programs. Here’s the skinny: after evaluating  whether your toddler is developing normally in the areas of speech, motor skills, cognitive and emotional functioning, sensory perceptions and a host of other things, states may help kids catch up in said areas  (read: therapy). I never knew about this until I had a kid. Now, I’m knee deep in the process.

When we live in Los Angeles, A. qualified for California’s equivalent after four evaluations done by a social worker, occupational therapist, sensory occupational therapist and a speech pathologist. After our one at-home evaluation, he qualified for New Jersey’s program.

But after going through this process twice, I wonder who is the early intervention for: him or me? I seem to walk away from these sessions thinking that I am the bad mother and that I have failed as my son’s first teacher. I know it isn’t entirely true but for a woman who is pretty hard on herself it’s hard not to think that it is. This intervention says: Stop your bad parenting!

I do what all the parenting mags advise. But I also know that he drinks more milk than he should (I’m as guilty as Katie Holmes for letting him continue to use a bottle); that he watches more television than he should; and that he rather play cars than sit and have me read to him. Will I continue to try and wean him from the bottle, play with him outside and read to his wiggly body? Of course! But I’m still happy I have a little help for him (and me) make up developmental ground.

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Early Intervention for Who?

7 thoughts on “Early Intervention for Who?

  1. You know already how I feel about having a less than perfect son! We did the early intervention and the special ed preschool and the rest of the services. They have a way, those very professional (mostly) and superhelpful (mostly) people of turning you into a blubbering mess of mommy, but it’s not their intention, and nothing is your fault.

    Also — and I say this as someone who’s written for or edited these magazines! — don’t think that doing everything those mags say will somehow lead you to being right or doing right by your child. If I thought that, I might blame my son’s issues on the vodka and cranberry I drank KNOWING I was very early pregnant, but wanting to throw a nosy coworker off the “are you pregnant yet or what?” scent. Yes, its’ true! I also drank Diet Coke, ate processed meats sometimes, let my baby sleep on his stomach nearly from the beginning, and now let them watch commercial TV and play on the computer to give me some peace.

    Good parenting and perfect parenting are two totally different things. Also, Early Intervention rocks. Especially if you end up with free preschool; this is why we pay our taxes.

    Denise

  2. Thank you Denise! While parenting mags have helped guide me, I’d go crazy trying to be the perfect parent. My biggest concern has always been that my son is happy and at this young age, I believe he is.

    So maybe that bottle of wine I drank when I was first pregnant and didn’t really know had an effect on him. And, like you, I committed other preggo no-no’s. Ultimately, A is a terrific kid and I know things will work out.

  3. Mo says:

    I’m not a parent and I don’t know what’s going on, but I do know that kids develop at their own pace. They may not crawl, walk or talk exactly when the books suggest they should, and they may not learn the same way or at the same pace that other kids do. Hang in there. You’re a good mom and baby A is going to be fine.

  4. Nikki (MOM) says:

    So, of course you are going to hear from me.
    I do not remember when you stopped drinking from a bottle, you made that decision.
    You woke up and watched Sesame Street then Mr. Rogers. At noon I had to give up watching “All My Children” so you could watch Bozo and Captain Kangaroo.
    You did not speak in full sentences till you were well over two
    You were potty trained shortly after you turned two (completely and TOTALLY trained in two days!)
    You were always happy and smiling.
    You always excelled in school and sports.
    You were an “awesome” teenager (how many parents would admit that?)
    You became an incredible professional adult.
    AND NOW
    You are a terriffic Mom!!!
    A. is so lucky he drew you and M. as parents!!

  5. Mo,
    You are right. Kids do develop at their own rate. I cannot begin to tell you how many people have told me that boys start talking later than girls or when he does talk it will be in sentences. But with A there are other things, such as not building on milestones or not being consistent.

    When we first we through the rounds of evaluation, my sucky-mom thoughts were really overwhelming. But I realized, eventually, that It wasn’t me. Yesterday those thoughts crept their way back into my psyche. They are hard to shake.

    Thank you for the encouragement. I appreciate it.

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