Sunday, October 12, 2008

Early Intervention

This week Robbie had his big meeting with Early Intervention (EI.) It's a program through the state that evaluates (and treats, if necessary) children for developmental delays.

Robbie automatically qualified for evaluation based on his gestational age at birth and birth weight.

Over the last few weeks, we've had several therapists out to the house to look Robbie over. First, the coordinator came out to get a feel for what he might need to be checked on. She decided we needed a developmental therapist and an occupational therapist.

Then on Thursday, all of them (and a bonus coordinator-in-training) came to discuss their findings and discuss therapy.

He was around 3 weeks adjusted age when the therapists were out.

He evaluated as follows from the Developmental Therapist:

Gross Motor: 1 month
Fine Motor: 1 month
Relationship Inanimate Objects: 1 month
Language/Communication: 2 months
Self-Help Skills: 1 month
Relationship to Persons: 1 month
Emotions/Feeling states: 2 months
Coping Skills: 2 months

The Occupational Therapist only shows the following:

Grasping: 1 month
Visual-Motor Integration: 1 month

but commented that the scale they use isn't really set up to show everything that she'd like noted.

Her comments:

Robert is an adorable 17 day adjusted male that has a loving and supportive home. He demonstrates developmental strengths that include alertness, emerging flexion, good appetite, and natural reflexes for prematurity. Robert will benefit from increased suction while eating, controlled swallowing, monitoring nipple flow, continued breast feeding skills and continued strengthening.

While they were here, he was awake and getting ready to eat, so they all got to see him in a perky mood. There were lots of oohs and ahhs and how alert he was. He was clearly curious about all the activity. (There were 4 of them.)

Essentially, they left the decision for therapy up to me. If he were a full term infant who was 1 month old, he wouldn't qualify for therapy. He's not behind. (Therapy normally requires a 30% delay) but because he was so early, we can do it anyway.

There is a fee for the services, but it's based on income and could be reimbursed by our insurance. (Something I still need to check into.)

I opted to go with therapy. The only thing he really needs to work on currently is nursing. He eats from a bottle just fine, but still will only nurse sporadically and for short amounts of time.

The occupational therapist who was here is also a lactation consultant and explained that he isn't use the correct motion to nurse. He can do it, but prefers the "easy" way at the bottle. She gave me a simple exercise to work on it (basically he sucks on my finger and I put some downward pressure on his tongue) but with therapy, they'll help even more.

They set a 6 month plan that involves making sure he makes his developmental milestones.

It will be a few weeks until everything is completely set up, but soon we'll have once a week therapy in our home. They said that after a few weeks, the therapy will be less frequent, but for now, we'll get a good start.

I'm so glad to have the availability of the program. He's at very high risk for delays. Hopefully with a team of experts keeping a close eye on him, we can avoid them altogether, but at the very least if anything shows up, we can work on them right away.

In the meantime, things are going very well.

He's finally starting to smile a bit. I'm not sure he's smiled at ME just yet, but he has smiled at his pacifier, and occasionally when you put the bottle in his mouth. It's amazing to see his little eyes light up. He's smiled before, of course. But not the huge, beaming (if brief for now) smile is unbelievable.

Earlier tonight he smiled at his bottle and David and I both giggled like children just watching him. It's impossible not to smile back at a smiling baby.

I hope to catch one of them on camera soon!



Angie Daiber said...

I am so HAPPY to hear all is going well. I miss talking with you but i am glad you are able to be home & enjoying your little bundle of JOY. Cant wait to see that little smile...I'll be watching for it.