Thursday, November 5, 2015

"Welcome to the Early Intervention Program..."

"Early Intervention provides family-centered services to help children who qualify to develop the skills they will need to continue to grow into happy and healthy members of the community." - EI website 

I researched the Early Intervention (EI) program a couple months ago, around Conor and Caden's 15 month pediatrician appointment. While the pediatrician nor myself feel that there is any need for concern or worry, I wanted to bring up the EI topic in my blog for other moms and parents experiencing similar situations. 
When I inquired with the pediatrician about their lack of "expressing and/or responding" at their appointment, she mentioned a few techniques I could incorporate in our daily routine, to sort of "ramp up" their communication. For example, she mentioned I could name and repeat every object or act we were doing. Like "milk milk milk" for their sippy cups, or "up up up" if they wanted to be held. Or even sounds like "beep beep beep" when they saw the horn in their cozy coupes or "vroom vroom". You get the idea. I focused on using more vocals for the months of Aug and Sept, but still felt like they were still not progressing in the speech department. She said to give it a few months and if I wanted to move forward, she gave me a referral for the EI program with contact information. 
I must say that it is common for boys to start talking slower girls, and the fact that they're twins doesn't help either. As I mentioned in previous posts, they've had about half the individual attention as other babies/toddlers their age. So anyway, I've been researching programs that are available because if it's a great resource (and covered by insurance), then why NOT use it??? Right?


I called and inquired about the EI enrollment process and their services. They were great. During that call, I easily made appointments for their "assessments" to see if the boys qualify for services. Prior to their assessments, the team leader came to my house to interview me. She asked about my pregnancy, their births, their first year of life, etc. She asked very specific questions that can affect their current state now that they're almost a year and a half. She also said that one could qualify for services while the other may not, or they both could, or they both could not. Their assessments would make that determination. About a week after that interview, Caden had his assessment. It last about two hours one Monday morning and a group of four qualified professionals administered a few little tests with Caden. It was very interesting to see their tests and techniques, as well as watching Caden's responses to them. He did so well! They tested various categories such as cognitive, motor, social/personality, and communication. His motor scores were through the roof. He did awesome. His social and cognitive were good, right in the normal range. And his communication scores were on the lower end. 

Conor had his assessment the following Monday and his results were very similar, almost identical (shocking right? Lol). They both had the same tests, and the same outcomes pretty much. Caden did a little better in the motor skills portion of the assessment, because sometimes Conor can be a little clumsy. Yet Conor excelled more in the cognitive portion, because Caden was heartbroken when they took his toy car away during the test. He cried and cried and cried. He couldn't calm down so they couldn't move forward in that section of the assessment. So he got a 0, which brought his scores down. Poor Caden, he was devastated.


Anyway, their scores for most of the criteria were all in the normal range, but their communication results were low. This was not a surprise to me whatsoever. In fact, I was glad/relieved that their scores reflected their actual personalities, their development, and our every day lives. It can be frustrating for everyone when we can't understand each other and tantrums are the result of several failed communication attempts. 
Moving forward, at the end of their assessments, they tallied up their scores and they informed us that the boys qualified for services due to the communication scores. Further, they advised that they could set us up with a speech pathologist to work on their speech development. They inquired about my goals and Jim's goals -- which were the same by the way -- and where we would be when we thought we were "successful" in the program. I liked that. We were immediately starting out on the same page, with realistic expectations. I said I would feel like we were successful when Conor and Caden can say approximately 5-10 simple words like mama, dada, milk, up, juice, eat, as well as doing a bit of signing (i.e. "more" or "milk". I also said it would be nice for them to start responding to simple requests such as "Conor - where's your milk?" Right now, I don't really get a response.  Or "Caden - can you bring mommy another book?"  No real response or reaction from that question either. I'm hoping in the next 5-6 months we can see some improvement. I'm also hoping that having another person like a speech pathologist to work with each of them individually will really help their individual growth and development. 
And I must say, in just a few weeks since their assessments, they are already "talking" so much more. Granted we aren't in the program nor have administered any of the strategies yet, but they are already improving and developing on their own. I'm really happy with that. So far, so good! More to come on the program and the boys' progress in upcoming posts.

Conor and Caden love to watch YouTube videos of themselves, especially this one from when they were younger, ha!

All for now.

xo,
Shaz