Isabelle’s condition qualifies her for things that tend to give me mixed feelings. She could qualify for Make-A-Wish, has qualified for an Icing Smiles cake, and Medicaid help. She also qualified for Early Intervention services through the Kennedy-Donovan center. From the day we brought her home from the hospital we knew she was showing a slight developmental delay. Honestly, It would upset me when we would take her to well-baby check ups and see how much she wasn’t doing. Yes, she had been through an major surgery that reconstructed her circulatory system, but shouldn’t she be sitting up? Taking a bottle? Smiling? Writing her next thesis on the impact of socialism on today’s government?
After the initial meetings, we set up a plan and in comes Denise. Denise is amazing. She sings songs, gets her attention and keeps it! She shows me the positive in every situation, every play scenerio. “See how she is reaching? We want to see that. She wants to sit up.” I would sigh a sigh of relief when she would leave because I knew that with each visit I would be told exactly how much she would be catching up.
Isabelle went from laying relatively still to slowly rolling over. Then she began to sit. Then she started to make the movement towards pulling herself up to furniture. She began to crawl after numerous visits of Denise singing “Rock, rock, rock…hands and knees, hands and knees…”. After a visit with the cardio-neuro team and the feeding specialists, we decided an occupational therapist was needed. And so we met Gail.
Gail would come on a day that Denise wasn’t there, but a few times they overlapped. Gail came with some great toys and introduced the idea of preparing Izzie mentally to eat. She gave me a special brush to prepare her gums and some exercises to get her jaws ready. Izzie went along with it, and enjoyed playing with the brush. Gail showed me how to feed her properly and wait for her cues, which I would have completely missed. She had awesome toys and Izzie seemed to enjoy fine-tuning her motor skills on them. Gail had great handouts and always had additional information that was very helpful. Izzie still loves her food and is successfully feeding herself. It’s awesome.
She also walked by the time she was a year old. I didn’t expect her to take off the way she has, but at 15 months, she is practically running around the house. Denise showed us how to fight the hypotonia with certain exercises and paved the way for this active little girl who loves being with her sister.
Having Early Intervention services have been a blessing to our family. No one ever wants them, but if you can have them, it’s a great service to have. It has encouraged me on days when I feel like she will never catch up. It has validated some of my concerns and offered solutions to them. At our last cardio-neuro appointment, the psychologist remarked on how social Izzie is, her appropriate responses, and how great her gross motor skills were. It made me feel better about her future and how can you not be grateful for that???