Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Early Intervention

Margret was one of the first babies in the early intervention program at the local ARC.

She only a few weeks old when the first therapist paid us a visit. The therapist evaluated Margret's abilities and then showed me how to make Margret do a sort of sit up (I pulled her to sitting from lying down) to strengthen her neck muscles. The therapist would return in a week to see how we were doing.

I was to do this activity with Margret for 15 minutes at a time, twice a day. After about the sixth sit up in our first group, Margret started to object. Loudly. I picked her up, cuddled her and got her calmed down. Then I did a few more sit ups. She objected, so I gave her a break, and gave a good bit of thought to what I was going to do next. For the rest of the day, I had her doing a few sit ups each time I changed her diaper. We settled on three as the number she would do without getting cranky.

Over the next few days, instead of the 15 minutes twice a day, that's what we did, a few sit ups at each diaper change, with Mom singing or doing rhymes or rubbing noses, anything to make it fun.

By the end of the week, I could see a definite improvement in the steadiness with which Margret held up her head, but I was concerned that the therapist would not be happy with the change I had made in the therapy.

At the next visit I confessed, and the therapist frowned. When she evaluated Margret's progress, though, the frown turned to a smile, and she said we could continue with more of the same.

There were more home visits and more exercises, and then, when Margret was a few months old, therapy was moved to a group setting. I put Margret in her baby carrier on my chest, and walked to the sessions.

There were other babies there, and I enjoyed chatting with their mothers. Margret found the new and different toys of interest.

It was here that she had her first formal evaluation. Of the questions on the form, the only one I remember clearly is "Regards raisin". With Mom and a new interesting person to watch and listen to, and to Margret all people were more interesting than things, the evaluator had a difficult time deciding if Margret did indeed regard the raisin.

This early intervention stuff seemed to help, and more children entered the program. They moved therapy sessions to larger quarters, and started to send a van to pick the children up. I rode the van with Margret until she was deemed old enough to go by herself.

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