This Journey Our Life

When should you begin early intervention services for your child?

Camelia, cami's health and progress, Education, NICU, premature birth, prematurity, Special Needs, Special Needs Parenting, Visual ImpairmentRachel

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Our Early Intervention Journey

After our six month NICU journey, we were beyond thrilled to bring Cami home! We were ecstatic to finally be together as a family, caring for our child completely on our own.

Our prayers had been answered; our dreams had come true.

In the midst of the bustle we were contacted by an agency offering early intervention services, but the first effort ended disastrously.

The service coordinator involved was dishonest about her efforts to get in contact with me. In addition, she made an outrageous claim that she had shown up to our previously scheduled time, but that I had chosen not to answer the door.

Meanwhile, my days were still a whirlwind of activity filled with in-home nurse visits, multiple weekly appointments, follow-along clinics, and oxygen tank pick-ups/drop-offs, in addition to the typical adjustments involved in caring for an infant.

Due to the disappointment of that horrible first experience and uncertainty over what the services actually were, I underestimated their importance.

Getting the services started fell through the cracks.

After some time, someone from the agency called to inquire about my first experience and I reported the entire situation.

Our new service coordinator called the following day.

After we completed the entire entry process for a second time, Cami was finally able to receive intervention services at 16 months old.

Looking back?

I wish that she could have started receiving them much sooner.

Based upon my own experience I strongly believe that,

One of the most important steps on your special needs parenting journey is to begin lining up services for your child.

Intervention services are crucial in your child’s development even if you don’t consider them necessary to receive.

The key?

You must be proactive.

Don’t wait. Start now. 

INTERVENTION services:

Steps to take after an early diagnosis (ages 0-3):

If your child was diagnosed at a young age it’s important to get them intervention services as soon as possible.

Why?

I think the The National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center, NECTAC sums it up best:
 

Positive early experiences are essential prerequisites for later success in school, the workplace, and the community. Services to young children who have or are at risk for developmental delays have been shown to positively impact outcomes across developmental domains, including health, language and communication, cognitive development and social/emotional development. Families benefit from early intervention by being able to better meet their children’s special needs from an early age and throughout their lives.”*


Your child’s pediatrician should be helpful not only in providing you with the necessary information but also in encouraging you to contact such services.

However, if you’re unsure of where to begin or who to call the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities website is a great starting point.

This link provides an overview to finding and receiving Early Intervention in your area.

This link contains a pull down menu of the offices listed on the (NICHCY) state sheets. Though they are primarily state-level offices (and may be located near your state’s capital), they can usually put you in touch with resources in your community, as well as provide you with information and assistance about disability issues in your state.

EDUCATION services:

Steps to take after a later diagnosis (ages 3-22):

This link provides 10 Basic Steps to Special Education, overviewing what steps to take if your child is not currently receiving services.

If your child is already being seen by early intervention specialists they will be proactive in evaluating whether your child will need continued services.  If your child is considered eligible for special education, these services will be provided under the laws of IDEA through your local school system.

I will be sharing a variety of other resources throughout this series, but wanted to begin with a post outlining this vital step in your special needs parenting journey.

Sharing Your Journey
What was your experience with early intervention services? Looking back, what would (or wouldn’t) you do differently? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
 

rachsig3
 

Have an extra minute? Click on a box below to check out a three of my blogging friends also participating in the 31 Days series, hosted by the Nester:

31 days of Pinterest - Pinned to Done button31 Days 201231 days 2012b


*excerpt from the article: The Importance of Early Intervention for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities and their Families, found in a NECTAC publication.