This morning we had a social worker, occupational therapist, and psychologist out to the house to evaluate Bex and determine if she is eligible for North Carolina's Infant-Toddler Early Intervention Program. Since Bex is only 7 1/2 months old, the majority of the evaluation involved Chris and I talking about what she can and cannot do. Bex was in a great mood throughout the evaluation and worked hard to show off some of her skills for them.
The good news is that she is on track in 3 out of the 6 areas that they evaluated her for: social, communication, and adaptive behavior. As we suspected, her gross motor skills are her greatest area of weakness. Since all areas of development build off each other, her gross motor skills are also impacting her fine motor skills as well as her cognitive development. Cognitive development was a little surprising. However, they explained that babies mainly show their ability to problem solve through their motor skills, so then that made sense. They did comment that she has a great foundation of skills. The key is getting her to use those foundational skills more consistently. Hopefully, with the right interventions in place, we can get those gross motor skills clicking, which will help the other two areas start to fall into place.
In the hospital, I had mentioned to the Occupational Therapist that I spent the last 4 years working in Special Education, so I was familiar with how the evaluation process works. She commented that it was awesome I was so willing to get Bex evaluated, since sometimes people who have worked in Special Education are resistant to that idea. I will admit that I never thought I would find myself sitting on the other side of the table. However, my experience as an IEP Coordinator showed me how important early intervention is, so I am more than willing to accept all the help that is needed to help Bex reach her full potential. When I initially set up this evaluation, I thought that hearing Bex qualified for services might be difficult or make me sad, but after our meeting today, I actually felt a great sense of relief for two reasons. 1) I no longer have to worry about what milestones that a typical baby is accomplishing and worrying that she is falling further and further behind. Instead, I can focus on the individualized goals and milestones that we develop for Bex. 2) I will finally have resources to help me figure out how to best help her instead of guessing and trying to figure it out on my own, so I will no longer have to second guess if what I am doing is "right."
Next Monday, they are coming back to work with me on how to integrate all kinds of exercises and activities into our daily routines to help Bex start improving her gross motor skills. The only real disappointment of today is that I have to wait a full week for them to come back to get the plan in place!