Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The scoop

I think I've alluded to this post in a couple of earlier blogs, but here's my chance to provide a proper update. We've been taking the girls to the follow-up clinic since we brought them home from the NICU last year (oh wow - we're coming up on their first anniversary of the day they came home!) and they've been monitoring their development because they were preemies and are at risk for developmental issues. They've never had any concerns about their development and, more importantly, their physical and mental ability to continue to develop, as they have always fallen on their adjusted age for their performance. Over the last several months, though, we've noticed that Olivia tends to slouch when she's sitting and on our last official visit to the follow-up clinic in April, the PT made the comment that she wasn't concerned about her motor skills but she could see recommending some early intervention to make sure both girls, but Olivia in particular, continued to keep up with their adjusted age. We all know how D feels about that, but he was surprisingly receptive when I made the comment that I thought we should look in to the early intervention. If it's available to us, covered by insurance, and the girls qualify.....why not, right? So we put ourselves on the waiting list for a standing PT appointment with the follow-up clinic.

In the meantime, I had heard about another program that's state-supported for children from birth to 3yrs. Children are evaluated and, based strictly on their developmental needs (versus being income-based, etc.), they may qualify to receive early intervention services. D and I talked about it and again said "Why not?". So a couple of weeks ago we set off to our county health department for the girls' evaluation and found out the next day that they both qualified for the program. Last Thursday, an early interventionist (EI) came to our home to meet us and fill out all the required paperwork and we set a time each week where she'll come to our house and spend about an hour and a half, once a week, working with the girls. (You may remember that last Thursday was california roll day.......and why I happened to be going through that particular intersection so close to home around lunchtime - ha!).

We were expecting the in-home services to take forever to qualify so, while that was going on, we found out we were able to get in to the follow-up clinic for a standing PT appointment and we decided to accept that appointment --- thinking we would do both for a short time period until we decided if that was too much and then we would make a decision about which one to continue. So last Thursday we had our first in-home appointment and this past Monday we had our first PT appointment at the follow-up clinic. We really didn't get to see the EI in action for the full time as that was a paperwork and "get to know you" appointment, but the PT on Monday really started taking a good look at Olivia. Sofia was there as well and the decision at the follow-up clinic is to officially work with Olivia, but we'll take Sofia as well and he'll evaluate her and give us some things to work on at home for her as well.

After seeing both groups, I'm not entirely convinced that it's too much to take them to the clinic on Monday and have someone come to our house on Thursday. I try so very hard to not compare either of my girls to eachother or to other babies, but I am a little concerned about Olivia and the fact that she's not rolling over or showing any interest in mobility whatsoever. On the flip side, she's saying "ei-ei-oh" (or her version, anyway!) and tries to mimic everything we say so it may be fair to say that she's working harder on her verbal skills than her gross motor skills.

The PT did say that she's showing a little asymmetry when she sits which, I later found out, is a result of the fact that her back muscles aren't as strong as they should be because she doesn't spend enough time on her tummy. And apparently all of the skills they learn later really start with having strong back muscles. I really liked how he spent the first half of our appointment just watching Olivia and watching her movement. He would ask me to put her on her tummy and then he would observe. Then stand her up and he would observe. On her back and he would observe. He was really concentrating on her. Then he put her on an exercise ball. It was kind of funny to see my little girl sitting atop this huge exercise ball, but he was showing us how to use the ball to work her reactions to being off balance and to work her muscles. Next week (when I take the girls solo!) he said he'll give us hands on time so we can be comfortable working with her at home.

Where was Sofia while we were working with Olivia on the big red exercise ball? Why she was crawling all over the mat chasing this toy that rattled when it rolled. It was quite funny. The PT would be observing Olivia and Sofia was come crawling by on her way to get the toy she had just pushed across the mat.

So anyway! We feel good about the decision to seek early intervention for the girls to make sure they continue to hit developmental milestones and we'll see how it goes with working with 2 different groups during the week.

So there you have it!

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