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.