If your child is in the early intervention (EI) system, you are being serviced either by a therapist or a whole team of them. Your team may be made up of one or more of the following disciplines:
Works for ChildLink, determining eligibility for EI services. Communicates with the team to make sure services are running smoothly, schedules meetings, and works as liaison between family and EI team members.
Generally helps the family with strategies for the child’s overall development. Depending on your child’s needs, the special instructor is there to help you and your child work toward his or her goals, as well as address any new concerns you may have about your child’s development.
Speech and Language Pathologist
This team member addresses speech and language delays and may work on feeding/swallowing issues with your child.
Works on fine motor skills and sensory integration issues, as well as feeding issues when necessary.
Works on gross motor skills where delays exist. Including rolling, sitting, crawling, and walking.
Early Intervention is Family-Centered
Please remember that early intervention is family-centered. This is due to research that has proven that infants and toddlers learn best in a natural environment; the places where they live and play.
Your therapy should revolve around your lifestyle, and not vice versa. That means you are entitled to a session time, strategies, and input that works for you.
In order for therapy to be effective, communication between the therapist and family is key. If your therapist is suggesting a strategy you are uncomfortable with, don’t just nod your head and pretend you are going along with it, when you have no intention of doing so. Instead, communicate your concerns with the therapist.
Dieja is an 18-month old girl who is presenting a variety of challenges. Dieja does not imitate any words or sounds, cries frequently, and only calms down when given a bottle of juice. She is a fussy eater, and does not consume many solid foods, relying heavily on her bottle.
Dieja’s therapist recommended that Mom stop giving Deja juice, since the high sugar content is likely to limit her appetite and contribute to ongoing feeding issues, as well as poor attention span. Dieja’s mom, Tracy, feels that if she stopped giving Dieja juice, she would not be able to tolerate the tantrums that ensue. Tracy is a working, single mom, and she finds it overwhelming to care for her family, especially considering Dieja’s many challenges. She thinks it would be too difficult to put up with a tantruming toddler and never be able to fall back on juice as a comforter.
Tracy explains these concerns to the therapist.
The therapist expresses an understanding for these concerns. She suggest that she and Tracy brainstorm together to come up with solutions that will help Dieja become less dependent on juice bottles.
Together, they come up with several ideas:
- Switch to a sippy or toddler cup and allow small amounts of juice, only after meals
- Allow juice at two to three set times per day, but not more
- Gradually begin to dilute juice with water to lessen sugar intake and increase appetite for healthy foods