A couple of months ago both the twins were evaluated by Early Intervention and it was determined that they qualified for services. Both were behind (even for their corrected age) in terms of gross motor development. At the one year mark, Aria had just started getting herself to the crawl position and crawling. Ella wasn’t able to get into the position at that time. Now, at 14.5 weeks, both are crawling, pulling to stand, walking along furniture, climbing stairs and walking holding our hands or a walker. By comparison, Evelyn started walking (without holding on) at 14 months.
I am so proud of the girls for their hard work. And that’s what it is; their work. The Early Intervention team has only come out three times in those 2.5 months.
Now I’ll stop right there and say that I am incredibly grateful that programs like this exist. Let’s just hope our politicians don’t screw with that. But I don’t think that the money, time and paperwork being spent on my children is necessary for what we’ve been given in return.
The girls were diagnosed with hypotonia by their NICU follow-up docs at the 9-month mark. It just means low muscle tone. Add that to being preemies, and all the professionals were in agreement that their gross motor development (large muscle movements like crawling, standing, walking) would be delayed. I knew that. But I guess my reaching out to EI was my way of saying I needed help to get them where they should be. I didn’t know how to help them develop those muscles, especially with their older sister around and constantly getting in the way.
The three visits that the case manager and physical therapist have made have all run the same. They watch the girls play and evaluate their movements. They also give them tasks like have them crawl to a toy, stand up to reach a toy on the couch, etc. this encompasses about 20 minutes. The rest of the time (forty minutes) they are writing their reports.
My main purpose in contacting EI was to learn how to help my girls. On the first visit I learned how to move Ella’s legs and arms while she was sitting in a way that helped her get into the crawling position. And this last visit I was told that I should offer the girls a toy before walking with them. That way they can learn how to walk while only holding onto one of my hands.
So my question is… why couldn’t this info be a handout? Maybe if I had my mom around, or friends with older kids than mine these hints and tricks would have been passed to me. Why can’t pedi offices employ a physical therapist that pops in at those well visits and does a quick check and gives mom and dad some tips? Why does the state need to spend thousands of dollars on case managers, physical therapists, offices, complicated testing procedures if, in some cases, the solution is just this simple? I can’t help but feel like parts of this program are completely a waste of resources.
I’m hoping that the girls continue to advance as they have been, even if it is taking them a bit longer. Each day they are surprising me with new vocabulary and new sounds, and their actions and wants are becoming so much more clear to me. I don’t have any concerns at this time about their cognitive development or their language. And for that I am so grateful.
But I don’t think we need to see EI anymore. A google search could have told me those tips I needed to assist the girls with their major muscle development. Let those resources go to some family that needs it more.
P.S. And here is one more reason why I think EI isn’t right for us. Rather than engaging my oldest in playtime as well, the physical therapist whipped out her iPad, opened an app and showed my child how to play a game. SHE IS TWO YEARS OLD! Two year olds DO NOT NEED TO PLAY GAMES ON AN IPAD! Beyond upset by this. Wishing I had had the balls to say something.