Why Is Early Intervention Important – Missed Milestones Means Ya Gotta’ Intervene

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Every family who is confronted with their child’s sometimes confusing conduct and characteristics needs the answer to ‘why is early intervention important’?   Early intervention can maximize a child’s growth where there appears to be developmental delays.  What does this term developmental delays mean and what does it have to do with early intervention?  The fact of the matter is that it’s all in what our child can and cannot do and IF they are meeting expected growth milestones.  So the point is we are striving to help them grow up to be fully functional and happily realized people in the world in which they must live and you are going to be so happy you did everything you could because this will affect your daily family life too.

 

Examples of MISSED MILESTONES

An infant who doesn’t lift their head when on their tummy at 2 months, doesn’t smile at the sound of your voice when 3 months, isn’t interested in mirror images at 6 months and can’t roll over and sit up supporting themselves with their own arms and legs by 6 or 7 months, is already presenting with significant missed milestones.

Learning to Drink from a Cup...Sometimes Messy But Also Good

Learning to Drink from a Cup…Sometimes Messy but if a child is really struggling with this,,,NOT good.

Taking Steps While Holding the Handrail...This is Good

Taking Steps While Holding the Handrail…If they aren’t able to do this…NOT good

 

Exploring His World - Banging is Good!

Exploring His World –
Banging is Good….Not Banging NOT Good

Now, the fact is, of course that every child develops at a different rate from kids in their age group.  No one is the same and there is no such thing, not really, as “normal”.  But catching that something just doesn’t seem right with your child could mean the difference between prolonged developmental delays that become entrenched as characteristics or receiving support that will get that ‘plastic brain’ to stretch and lay down the important nuerological pathways for their success in school and in life.  It REALLY is this important!

“Better Sooner Than Later”

So consider this.  What if you don’t recognize the signs in their earlier months as briefly summarized above for 2 months to 7 months.   Now, if your child does not crawl between 8 months to a year, isn’t pulling themselves up and furniture walking, and does not use gestures like waving bye-bye by one year older, or maybe they soothe or occupy themselves with persistent rocking, then an assessment is very important.  I want you to know that figuring this out NOW is, yes in this instance and for your child’s well-being, IS “better sooner than later”.

You do want to create a better future for your child and for your family, I know you do,

otherwise you wouldn’t be here reading this.   

Then don’t wait.

Did you know that our brains are supposed to grow and double in size in our first year of life?  The brain is laying down many neural pathways during this time!   Look at how children in bilingual families often learn two languages as they are learning to speak.  Have you learned a second language?  It takes effort, right?  It is truly remarkable that kids learn to speak even one language let alone two entirely different ‘tongues’ as they learn to speak in their first three years.

 

RESOURCES…You Should NOT Do This Alone

First and foremost I want you to know that I can and would like to be a resource for you.  It is the number one reason why I am writing this blog.  So by all means do contact me if you have a question or concerns you’d like to discuss further.  My email is:  linda@specialneedsadvocatepower.com

But to support your learning curve, here are some other resources that will help you drill down on your questions and help take the wonder and concerns out of what’s going on with your child and their sometimes bewildering behaviors.

http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/pdf/checklists/all_checklists.pdf    

Logo for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Logo for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Use this CDC checklist.  These forms have a place where you can write in your child’s name and the date you recorded your observations.  You should take it with you to your physician when you go for either a well-baby checkup or maybe because you have concerns and you have made that all important appointment to talk with him/her on these specific issues.  Like I have already said. don’t wait.  If the well-baby checkup isn’t for a couple of months or more, then just make the appointment with the your child’s doctor and get in there to talk to him about what you are seeing!

And here are a few other really helpful documents that can help you with those things that might be driving you crazy, like can’t get them to go to sleep, or maybe they don’t express or understand another kid’s emotions, let alone yours.

http://challengingbehavior.fmhi.usf.edu/do/resources/documents/bkpk_bedtime.pdf

http://challengingbehavior.fmhi.usf.edu/do/resources/documents/bkpk_understand_emotions.pdf

http://csefel.vanderbilt.edu/documents/teaching_your_child-feeling.pdf

http://csefel.vanderbilt.edu/documents/teaching_cooperate.pdf

Here is a little quiz in both English and Spanish from the CDC that could help you identify if there are some quirky behaviors that are less quirky and more a developmental concern.

 English

Spanish

 

In my state I accessed the early intervention program which is called AZEIP (Arizona Early Intervention Program).  These are good folks serving their community and doing the best they can even when they are stretched thin.  Please do seek out your community’s early intervention agency.   Here is a CDC link for finding your local agency in your state of residence (in the United States) http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/parents/state-text.html

I highly recommend that you contact that coordinator from this above list.  They will come to your home and help you determine if your child is behind and what services can be opened up to you.  I started out with the Easer Seals folks and in time transitioned to my state liaison in Arizona’s Department of Developmental Disabilities.  Initially there were three therapists coming to us every week, and we continue to have two who are still supporting us, right in our home.

Whole and Happy  A worthy goal to attain.

Whole and Happy
A worthy goal to attain.

These folks were specialists in their field of study; a speech and language pathologist, a physical therapist, and an occupational therapist.  Each of them contributed in a mighty way to my daughter’s progress and she has made great strides because of their support.  Remember, our children’s abilities are getting locked in during the first five years of their life and because of the pliable nature of their growing brains a child who has delays will do better at recovering the younger they are.  Much later its going to be hard won progress, a tremendous amount of frustrating and difficult work.

Don’t Set Yourself and Your Child Up

Climbing Takes ALLOT of Mental Processing and is a Big Milestone

Climbing Takes ALLOT of Mental Processing and is a Big Milestone

You don’t want to set yourself up for that frustration nor do you want your child to have to work so hard for their abilities and skills.  Can you just imagine how hard it will be for your child if they can’t hold a pencil correctly, or are not able to relate numbers too the things they count?  I’m telling you its has been hard, hard work for for my granddaughter and she has had support since she was 18 months old.  I am strongly recommending that you just don’t want to waste any time!

There Are Many Resources to Access…Here is just one

When you are able I would definitely read what Barbara Popper has suggested in an article that is listed in the Zero to Three website.  Her article is titled Tips for your Child’s Developmental Assessment.  

What I like about this article is the focus it has on YOU.  As you are trying to discover what is happening with your child and ensuring services are made available it can feel overwhelming.   I love that this resource encourages you to not ignore what your gut is telling you and that you do not need to know all of the technical terms (we provide a  vocabulary list  in our library to help with this).

Disagree If Need Be

It is my opinion that you should disagree with the professional if you don’t feel they have gotten what’s happening; by all means disagree.  You know what is going on so much better than they ever could because you are with your special person every day. But, when you disagree do your best to disagree graciously.   You want these professionals to be part of your team; they can be and provide much needed support so you don’t want to step on their toes.

Logo for the Zero To Three National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families

Logo for the Zero To Three National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families

 

Here is the link if you’d like to read the entire article in the Zero to Three – National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families website:

http://main.zerotothree.org/site/PageServer;jsessionid=DD7714FD2CB1A30FC0F164BDDA441C58.app268c?pagename=ter_key_childdevt_assessment

Identify Your Pediatric Resources

I recommend finding a “Developmental-Behavioral Pediatric Physician”  in your community.  And if you haven’t been able to locally identify this specialist then I heartily recommend contacting the Easter Seals Society.  The folks there were an awesome support and beginning resource after I lost my daughter and was trying to figure out what to do to help my granddaughter who was not sitting up by herself, let alone crawling and walking as she should have been at 17 months, well over a year old at that time.  Additionally, another resource to find this doctor, here is a link http://www.healthgrades.com/pediatric-developmental-behavioral-health-directory to help you fine tune your research.

 

Another excellent resource is from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), a United States governmental agency that has an entire department, the National Center of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, focused on providing resources to us.

 

Pretend and Make-Believe Play is good progress for a child.

Pretend and Make-Believe Play is good progress for a child.

Being Able to Dress and Undress Is Part of Good Development

Being Able to Dress and Undress Is Part of Good Development

Track Your Milestones A Handy CDC Chart

Track Your Milestones
A Handy CDC Chart

 

 

The Times … They Are a Changing!

The absolute fact of the matter is that there has been a significant increase over the past few years for kids diagnosed as autistic.  My granddaughter has this diagnosis which she was only given a year ago in April 2014, she was five years old.    Many of the challenges faced by young parents mirror the difficulties of autistic children.   Its sad to say, but there are also many other possible reasons for a child to be missing their milestones and appearing to be developmentally delayed.  I will be writing about these other disabling conditions too.

For now I just wanted to focus on offering you encouragement …

Access early intervention if you suspect something isn’t right.

This Public Service Announcement really hits home when considering the pervasiveness of Autism, just one of many conditions where kids are missing their developmental milestones.  I hope you will click on it and watch.  It is very short.

https://www.psacentral.org/campaign/Autism_Awareness/asset/Times_Have_Changed-_1_in_68/196710004

 

Your child’s future, one where they can be all they can be, hinges on your actions! 

Having developmental delays does not mean a life devoid of fulfillment. 

It does mean that receiving early intervention services are critically important to your child’s success!

Please feel free to contact us in the comment section below or by sending me an email:  linda@specialneedsadvocatpower.com

Drop Us a Comment and Share What Your Experience Has Been with Early Intervention!

Drop Us a Comment and Share What Your Experience Has Been with Early Intervention!

I would love to hear about your ‘early intervention’ experience and the difference it has made in your life and that of your child’s.

2 Responses to “Why Is Early Intervention Important – Missed Milestones Means Ya Gotta’ Intervene

  • Love what you’re doing here. Too many kids go undiagnosed with something for too long. But moneys an issue for lots of people, that’s sad too. But on the other hand I think way to many kids on drugs too.

    • Linda

      You are so right Jim. The money thing is an issue and because of that I believe that slowly things are beginning to shift in the insurance world, for the better. YIPPEE. It is a very delicate balance when it comes to a child’s health and determining whether a drug should be used or not. I am NOT a fan of medicating a child if the other things haven’t been researched and tried. There are no safe drugs in my opinion, just less side-effects for one over another. You may appreciate my review of the drug Risperdal for that reason.

      Thanks for dropping in and sharing your thoughts. Maybe something I have shared can help someone you know who may be struggling as they care for their kiddos.

      Linda

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