A brief lesson on early intervention: Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (2004), infants and toddlers with disabilities have the opportunity to receive therapy services such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, or education. The fees are usually on a sliding scale, although some jurisdictions do not charge. Case management is free.
Because Ellie had her disability documented prior to her birth, I actually called my area's early intervention office while I was pregnant. They told me to call back when I had the kid and she was home from the NICU.
I did, and Ellie's team now visits in our home in order to help her meet her projected outcomes for the year. Since Ellie is now thirteen months old, we met today to review her Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) and talk about her current developmental levels, as well as set up the coming year's services.
As expected, Ellie showed some delays across the board in gross motor, fine motor, and expressive language. (Her receptive language shows less of a delay.) However, the narrative portions are what really inform the coming year. Here's a glimpse of what therapists see in my child:
In the area of feeding and self-help, Ellie is very advanced! She is able to safely tolerate all stages of foods (puree, soft solids, crunchy textures, and mixed consistencies). Ellie is self-feeding with her hands of various foods, including: crackers, noodles, tofu, meat, fruit, and vegetables. When it comes to utensils, Ellie is very creative in her approach- she picks up the fork with one hand and will remove the food with her other hand (when her second hand is occupied or restrained, she will drop her fork and remove the food with her first hand). She is not yet using a consistent pincer grasp to feed, but is using it to pick up small objects around the house (especially ones she shouldn't have!).
Ellie even got an extra tofu snack to demonstrate her newest fork game to her speech therapist. She would either throw the fork, then lean over to try to retrieve the tofu, or she'd grab the tofu from the fork, stuff the tofu in her face with her hands, then throw the fork.
I guess we'll be working on manners with the fork this year.
And now, having nothing to do with anything, Ellie and her buddy, Elmo.
We're eagerly awaiting some family fun tomorrow.