Friday, September 01, 2006

The Kathryn Journal (4) : Early Intervention: To Do Right Away or Not?

So here's what I know after navigating the Early Intervention minefield since we brought Kathryn home in March: When we go back in the New Year to get our 2nd daughter, Ji Ji (no English name yet!), unless there is something really alarming going on, we will probably feel safe waiting a few months before starting Early Intervention services...if they are recommended at all, of course.

Little did I know when I enthusiastically told the doctor, Yes, please, do contact the Early Intervention Agency, how time consuming navigating this particular beaurocracy would prove to be. Kathryn was recommended for it because at over 1 year of age she wasn't talking yet..."and we want to give her a boost." She also had low muscle tone in her pelvic region. I was taking six months off work, so I thought, sure, why not? It's free and who doesn't want to give their baby a boost?

So the EI agency was contacted...

First, there is a meeting with the Service Coordinator from the Agency.
Then, your child is evaluated by at least 4 therapists--for Special Education, cognitive skills, Occuaptional Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Speech Therapy.

Then they submit their reports to the service agency.

Then the service agency calls a meeting to develop an "Individual Service Plan."

Of course Mommy and/or Daddy must be present for all of these meetings.

By this time it was late May and Kathryn had not actually received any therapy yet. Yes, that's right, the whole process, at least here in NYC, can take up to 2 1/2 months before therapy even starts!

Kathryn was approved for speech and physical therapy. This worked out to 5 30-minute sessions a week. Oh, that's a piece of cake, not much time at all I thought! But have you ever actually scheduled your entire week--activities, outings and everything else around 5 30 minute sessions? And then the therapist is late or doesn't show...

I realize I'm sounding pretty anti-Early Intervention, and I'm not really. I think it's a very important program. Chris and I are still not still convinced that Kathryn really needed it; we think she might have caught up on her own. And it's a pretty significant time commitment.

So with Ji Ji I think I might just enjoy my limited time off with her, unless there's something that needs urgent attention, and then start the process if it's recommended.

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