Thursday, February 16, 2012

Time Flies

It is so hard to believe that Ella is almost finished with her early intervention services. She has been receiving services since she was just three months old. This week, we had what is likely the final team meeting. She transitions to the preschool program August 31st...and really that process has already begun.

Our meeting was really good. I would say probably one of the best we've had in terms of progress for Ella. She made huge gains in her motor skills. At our last meeting in August, Ella had literally just started walking. Today she is walking, jumping, and climbing. Jen and Linda have worked so hard, pushing Ella to reach her potential (even under great protest at times!) She reached all of the goals we set for her six months ago. This is the first time in nearly three years that she was able to check everything off the list as accomplishments. Her speech is coming along as well. This is where we are still seeing the greatest delay, but she is slowly making gains and we are confident she'll continue to improve. Michelle is constantly looking for new ways to help Ella communicate and her hard work is paying off. We have been using sign language for quite some time and now we are adding a picture system to our day as well to help Ella pick up more speech. She is a very visual learner and although we have just implemented the pictures, she is already showing us how much it will help her. Ella is also doing great in Toddler group and loving the routine that school gives her. She is a star student!
Getting ready for the pool!

Next up is the move to preschool where she will likely continue to have services. The biggest difference is that her physical therapy, special education and speech services will happen at school rather than in our home. We have a meeting soon with the school district to discuss how often she will have each service and how it all works out. The goal is to have Ella in a position physically, socially and academically to start Kindergarten in a few years at the same level as her peers.

This is a bittersweet time for us. We have some of the best therapists who have devoted so much time to Ella's development and success. They have calmed Jason and me down in times of insecurity and taught us to be better parents and really better people. It will be sad to not see them every week and be able to share every new accomplishment Ella makes. I can honestly say that our precocious two and a half year old would NOT be where she is today without the support of Jen, Linda, Michelle, Jess and Jamie.

I remember that first phone call in August of 2009 from Jamie, our service coordinator, telling us that Ella qualified for an EI evaluation. It was hard to hear, but thankfully I was aware of how beneficial this could be(thanks to Kristin who does this for a living!) and was able to keep an open mind and follow through with service. It is so easy as a parent to be in think your child doesn't need these services. At times it has been a tough pill to swallow, but the positive aspects of EI are amazing. We started off slowly...with just one visit a week. Now we have a packed schedule that at times seems crazy and exhausting, but I would never trade it. The benefits far out weigh any day that I am tired or frustrated with the lack of extra hours in the day. I will continue to advocate for these services for all babies who qualify. It's a true testament to how a little extra can go a long way!

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