As of Monday, Ellie will no longer be receiving therapy from Early Intervention (Parent and Infant Education in our area), and starting in September, she is officially getting speech, occupational, and physical therapy at school.
|At this point in her life, Ellie had been receiving physical therapy for a couple months already.|
We've been using Early Intervention services since Ellie was 8 weeks old. She was evaluated for services within a few weeks of coming home from the NICU, and our EI team has been part of our lives ever since.
I am beyond excited for Ellie's school placement next year. She'll be in a self-contained class of two year olds with various special needs, housed at the elementary school. with a teacher and aides who will love her and meet her needs. She'll get to see the "big kids" at school and will develop lots of skills.
|Best EI toy ever.|
Because all of her therapy will be at school, after school time will be ours for mama to write lesson plans and IEPs, for Ellie to play with her friends, for reading books and getting "isssse cweeeeem!"
When we got Ellie's diagnosis, my teacher-self switched into research mode. I learned about all kinds of therapies. The internet is full of information on billions and billions of therapies, from supplements to neurodevelopmental to traditional speech and occupational therapy and physical therapy to treadmill therapy to flashcards and sight reading and... and... and... and....
It gets exhausting to read about them all.
|Learning to sit.|
|Learning to eat.|
We went with a pretty basic early intervention approach. Traditional speech, increasing from the time Ellie was 6 months old to the current weekly sessions. Traditional PT, once a week since she was eight weeks old. We did infant education for awhile but had to cut it because of time. Our goal for Ellie has been to help her develop skills correctly, encourage her, and help her communicate.
|Learning to walk.|
Ellie is two years and five months old. She walks, although not as well as her friends without Down syndrome. She talks, although not as articulately as her friends. She demonstrates social and emotional skills and manipulation skills that are impressive for any age. She finally eats with a spoon on occasion, but only if there's no adult present. She says "please" when prompted and will prompt anyone to say "thank you" if they dare to forget.
|Learning to stand was kinda scary.|
Is Ellie doing as well as she is because of her therapists? Partially. They've certainly helped her to learn new tasks. I have heard over and over again that for children with Down syndrome (and all children) input doesn't always equal output. Ellie had the skills to walk by 18 months, but walked closer to 28 months. Ellie didn't release objects in a meaningful way until 14 months. Those delays can't be explained by lack of therapy or lack of parental input, those are just Ellie.
|Fine motor toy, made with tips from Ms. Linda.|
And her therapists have loved her through it all.
I'm pretty emotional about the end of Early Intervention. When Ellie was born, I'd read about moms crying when their kids age out of EI. "Crazy people," I'd think.
Well, sign me up for crazy.
We love you, PIE team!
|She's come a loooong way.|