Early intervention

The general consensus now is that children with any sort of learning disability or special needs generally benefit from services as early as possible.  But, there’s a lot of variation among "neuro-typical" kids, so it’s not always easy to tell when you should worry.  Under federal law, all states are required to identify and evaluate kids who might be in need of special education or early intervention services. But some areas do it better than others.

Two bloggers that I read are going through this process right now:

We went through the process here in Virginia with our older son, D, who had a speech delay, and had a generally good experience.  Yes, there were an awful lot of meetings — which would have been more than a nuisance if we were both working in inflexible jobs.  But we always felt like the school staff were on our side, and that all the paperwork was because of the law.  (I think we got 6 copies of the 10 page summary of parents’ rights under IDEA.)

D got speech therapy for a year, and progressed so fast that he no longer qualified when reassessed.  I’m still not sure how much credit to give to the therapy, and how much he was just on his own schedule, but he enjoyed the sessions, so I don’t worry about it.  It boggles my mind to listen to our little chatterbox and remember that close to his 3rd birthday, he spoke in monosyllables and grunts.

That said, I actually think that D has low-level sensory integration issues, which didn’t show up on his evaluation.  A lot of The Out of Sync Child sounded familiar to me.  He used to refuse to walk on grass, and still hates sand.  He refuses to fingerpaint.  He’s a ludicrously picky eater, and I think it’s driven more by texture than taste.  (Who ever heard of a 4-year-old who wouldn’t eat plain spaghetti?)  And, at the same time, he will swing longer than any other kid on the playground, and adores to be spun around in circles until I’m ready to puke.

But it doesn’t affect his life or ours in any significant way (as long as we don’t try to go on a beach vacation), so I’m not going to push for a diagnosis.  We keep encouraging him to push his limits, and give him lots of opportunity to run and swing and spin, and I’m not convinced that an OT could do anything more. 

3 Responses to “Early intervention”

  1. Laura Says:

    So, Elizabeth, your son went from a grunter to a chatterbox in one year?!! I can’t imagine. I hope that my little grunter can make such strides.

  2. Jody Says:

    We skirted the fringes of EI when Wilder was a baby, and I was at the least grateful to get the parent evaluations for the next four years. At 18 months, kids are supposed to hold crayons in a fist and make squiggles? Good Lord, my kids haven’t ever SEEN a crayon! Time to get on that one.
    Seriously, I was unbelievably grateful for those resources, and if I were in public office, I would post the age-level questionnaires on-line and advertise them extensively. They were ENORMOUSLY helpful, especially when we flirted again with EI around speech issues at age 2.
    Gemma has some articulation challenges (ah, hell, just call ’em problems) and we’re debating what, if any, action to take on ST. I tend on my good days to think, wait until her fifth birthday (she won’t start school for eight months after that, and we’d go the privately funded route to make it easier on the schedule, hassle, etc.) but I’m reluctant, for a host of reasons, to wait until she enters kindergarten and let the public coffers and system handle it. There’s the “better early than late” issue but mostly it’s a reluctance to send her off to school with these articulation problems.
    I should blog on this myself, instead of hijacking your comments….

  3. LPF Says:

    It’s so interesting the way that diagnosing sensory integration issues have progressed/changed. Whenever I read about them, I am convinced that my husband would be diagnosed today if he were a kid. He has TONS of sensitivity issues with fabrics and feels and is very texture picky with food and just generally gets easily overwhelmed by sensation. Thirty odd years ago he was just “sensitive,” now I think it would be a different story. I think the way that you’re treating D’s pickiness is great—it sounds like you see it just as preferences, not some big ISSUE that needs to be treated. Over-analysis of children annoys me, but then again, my daughter is only five months old…

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