Let's Talk Early Intervention

Leigh has prompted me to spill more info on EI and I figured I'd do it for anyone that cares to know. As far as I know in each of states of the US has some kind of Early Intervention program although some states call it something else. Both Delaware and Maryland call it Child Watch, which always sounds like a place to report Child Abuse to me. If you are in another country, I recommend asking your pediatrician and perusing the government websites. That's how I found the PA EI program as my ped is in Delaware and they only had the contact info for DE and MD. They now have it for PA too, cause I was nice to pass along the information and they were nice enough to change their documentation they give to parents that same day! As I was saying I started perusing the Pennsylvania state government websites and finally hit on the right area.

What happens here is that the state sends your info to the county - Chester County in this case - and they assign you a local caseworker. The case worker schedules an evaluation of the baby(ies) or child and they come out and identify if they are delayed either physically or emotional/socially. If they are more than 25% delayed, which in my case was 2 months, then they qualify for free therapy appointments which come to your house, day care or caregiver. In our case the boys were spot on emotional/socially, but 2 months delayed physically, so we were approved for a physical therapist to come to our house and show us some exercises to do with the babies. There are some special stretches I need to do with Liam as he has torticolis (tight neck muscle), but for both the boys she taught us some exercises to help them get strong enough to roll over and to strengthen their arms so they can bear weight on them for longer periods of time. The key part is that she teaches us the exercises and we get to help them with them throughout the day. My SIL, Nicki, is also a part of this as she's with the boys most of the day anyway.

I do believe this helps a lot, even if it's just keeping it in my mind that they need lots of tummy time. Tommy is rolling so much now, I have to keep doors closed and we'll need to get gates soon. He keeps leaving the room by rolling! It happened this morning when I was working and Tommy was on the floor behind me (I had just put Liam down for his morning nap). I turned around and he was gone! I walked over and found out he was in the closet that is behind me, as I left the door open. He was so proud of himself!!!

Liam is getting better, but still not as physical as Tommy. He's not as interested in rolling over, even though he has less weight to try to move around. I think he's on the verge of rolling. I keep thinking it could happen any day now.

The other things we learn are how to work with them to "discover" their feet and to help them learn to sit with less support. I again see Tommy making great strides and Liam is right behind him by a week or two. She's also showed us how to use towels on the seat of the high chairs so their arms can clear the tray and let them grab at their toys. I never thought of that one.

That's all I can think of right now. It's really hard to describe the exercises. Sometimes even after I see her do them, I still can't get them just right. It's best to try to find someone to work with you that knows what they are doing.


Leigh said…
Heather, THANKS!

I'm going to ask my paediatrician and see what she says.
Tracy said…
Just to add, at least in our state, "Early On" also comes to homes to consult for children that have some kind of impairment or disability, be it vision, hearing or speach.

Evan and Rowan have been seen by a caseworker for 8 months now due to their hearing loss, and it's been a great help. She gives me guidance on not only their hearing aid use, but also activities we can do with them to maximize speech development.

Great post! Glad it's working out for you.
Tracy said…
Anonymous said…
Thank you for sharing this! My neice needs some speech intervention and to be able to tell my sister she might be able to get help for free is great! :)
seussgirl said…
We did early intervention for almost a year, and it was great for the boys. It was also great for us to not have to wonder or worry if they weren't where they should be developmentally. It helped to have a "professional" encouraging us weekly that the boys were doing well!

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