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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Therapy Tips #4- Early Intervention- LONG!

2 Kings 18:6 says, "He held fast to the Lord and did not cease to follow Him."

When my brother was 4 years old my parents discovered that he had a blockage in his brain that needed to be drained. We lived in a small town where the doctors were not very experienced in dealing with brain related issues. This was in the early 70's and the more my family noticed differences in my brother the more the doctors would assure us that they were "tracking" him and that my mom should not worry. Medical technology was nothing like it is today and my parents were just parents. They had no choice. The doctors told my mom what they thought and she trusted them.

My brother was clumsy, he wanted to sleep all the time and he woke up one morning with one eye facing in. My mother would take him to the doctor and they would examine him and say that they needed to let him develop and give him time. They did present some reasons for his vision being different, but other than that they were to give him time.

When Caroline went in for her 3 year old well visit the doctor asked her to build with blocks. She could not do it. She was also a little slower at walking and she was not showing the ability to color and do other fine motor activities that a 3 year old should be exhibiting. She slept a good bit and she had some different behaviors like flapping her hands and not toilet training like she should.
My doctor said, "Well, she might just be wired a little different. Just give her time."

My mind immediately went to the situation with my mom and dad. They KNEW that they had a situation that needed attending to, and they tried, but the doctor said wait... and they almost waited too late!

I remembered that my parents were gone for a long time, to a town a couple of hours away, to get help for my brother. When he was enduring his second brain surgery my dad was in the hospital praying. He said that he asked the Lord to be with his little boy and to do a miracle. He said that he looked out the window of the hospital down into the water fountain below. There, in the water, dad said that he saw the face of Jesus!! He said that he knew that Jesus WAS with them and that He was answering, and a peace just flooded him as he was able to rest in knowing that God is in control. Even of brain surgery.

In our situation with Caroline it has been the same. We know that though this is a difficult road that God is with us and that He is providing for us and her!

Here's the thing... He is also giving us the responsibility to take care of her, just like my parents had to care for my brother.

Here's the other thing... We HAVE to do it NOW!

If you are noticing any thing that might be a little different about your child early intervention is key! The development of a young child is rapid. Their brain develops and grows at alarming rates until they reach early childhood and then the development slows considerably. If there is any way to get help for a child who is showing ANY delay in those first 5 years it is always best to pursue EVERY bit of help that you can find. The stimulation that therapy and other services offer a child could mean the difference in a positive beginning to school, socialization and development among their peers than no services at all.

As a mom and a Special Ed. teacher I have to admit that I had to lay down some pride. No one wants to admit that something is wrong or that their child seems to be a little different. Thing is... the pride that was holding me back... was also holding her back!! It was doing her no good to wait!! She needed help and she needed it NOW!!

In the same way that my parents had to seek assistance outside of our little town until they received the help that they needed, I have had to seek assistance outside of my doctor's advice. I had to pursue finding a child psychologist and an outside source that would test my child who was not school aged yet. I also changed doctors. I think that he was a good doctor and that he had good intentions, but I also felt that he was missing things and I needed to find someone that could see what I was seeing.

Also, in the same way that my parents prayed and sought the Lord... I too am seeking Him. I know that He created my brother and that He had a plan to save his life. He is 36 and still lives at home, but he is working and driving and can paint and is ALIVE! Had my parents not done all that they knew to do at the time I am not so sure that he would still be here.

I know that the Lord has a plan for Caroline. He has directed our steps to some wonderful people who know how to deal with her differences. He has provided for her schooling and has put teachers in place that are willing to help us with teaching Caroline. But we had to take steps that we felt He lead us to. We could not wait and we can not afford to sit back and just hope that she would overcome! It's our responsibility to act and be her advocate.

If my mom were writing this to you she would say that the one regret that she has is that she didn't see things earlier and that she didn't start with my brother earlier. She wishes that she would have gone with her "mama instinct" and pursued other courses than just those doctors that were "tracking" my brother. She would tell you that she feels that my brother would have had a lot more confidence, and that he would be better off today, had they known about Occupational Therapy and other therapies that are available. She constantly tells me that she wishes that she would have done things differently, and yet she did the best that she could with what she had.

I do not want to have the same regrets, but to be honest, at times I already do. I wish that I had walked out of that doctor's office after her 3 year appointment that day and headed straight for those in the teaching profession that I knew and trusted and started asking questions. I wish I would have pursued what I DID know as a mom and teacher and not waited the year that I did. I think that we could have used that year to do therapy and help her get ahead instead of waiting to see how she did. It was a frustrating year of waiting because she was not coming along, and I still, I waited.

Early intervention programs are EVERYWHERE! You are wise to seek them out and begin to talk to everyone. Try to keep it in perspective when you hear that your concerns are correct. They are not trying to harm your child when they admit that he is not coloring like he should or that her behaviors are a little strange. They are confirming things that you need to know so that you can talk to professionals that can offer you assistance. Start as early as you can and do not give up!!

I know one mom that started OT early with her autistic, non-verbal, son and he is talking now!! It works and they are relying on us to help them through!

1 comments:

Stephanie D. said...

Girl, reading your post, and hearing you say "I wish I would have". I have said that, I have thought what did I do different while I was preg. with her that i didn't with the other two. But you can't do that, and it is hard not to. You are a GREAT and STRONG Mom, every time I have seen you with Caroline you amaze me ( a women of your word). You are doing everthing you can, and that is all God ask. I put in one of my last post that all children are special, and some God adds a little more sugar or extra Angel kisses to make them a little more than others. That is how I get over some of the humps with Alexis. Have a blessed day.