Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Twins' Development Update

We had the people from Easter Seals come out to evaluate the twins' development on Tuesday morning. ALTA California is the organization that coordinates the services for therapy, etc. and Easter Seals is the organization ATLA contracted through to actually provide the services.

The appointment was about 2 hours long and it consisted of signing paperwork, and then answering questions for about an hour. Finally, we got down on the floor and played with Aiden and Isabella to see what they could and couldn't do (some of the questions I couldn't answer because I had never tried to do that particular activity with them). It was fascinating because both Aiden and Isabella did firsts while she was here.

The first thing they did that they had never done before involved losing a toy. Normally when they lose a toy, they get frustrated and find the next closest toy. Yesterday, their toy rolled under a bigger toy chest and both of them put their head to the ground and looked under the toy to see if they could find it. That's really good! But they still didn't understand that if a toy is under a blanket or under a bigger toy that's closed - that it was still there.

The other first new thing Aiden did was crawl over to Connor's tool center, pull himself up to stand at it, and started taking toys off the top of it. Oooh Connor is going to be thrilled he can do that. Not. But I am!

So, all in all, the appointment went well. I was impressed with the specialist's (she specialized in early childhood development - social/emotional and cognitive disabilities) ability to engage my kids and I was impressed with my ability to remember all their milestones, when they met them, who their specialists are, what happened in the NICU, etc. =) The only thing I had to look up was their birth length. Ha!

Overall, they both qualified for services and will probably start receiving in home therapy services once a week starting in August. She didn't seem significantly worried or feel like it was too much to be able to catch them up, because they are doing a lot already. We just really need to built on the skills they already have. Some of their skills were at the 6 month mark, others at 9 months, and a few at the 12 month mark. We still need to have OT - occupational therapy - come out and observe them (and then potentially PT - physical therapy - if OT thinks it's necessary), and so it might be that they incorporate the OT stuff into the once weekly sessions we have - or it could be that we actually have two different appointments each week for them.

I thought I would feel overwhelmed and nervous, but it actually felt like such a huge relief. For the past several months, I would tell people about what they were doing and get one of two reactions: (1) "Oh that's just their personality. Maybe they're just going to do things at a different pace"...or (2) "Oh my child's been doing that for 3 months now!" I always felt like I was having to adjust to people either thinking I was being oversensitive and crazy or feeling like my kids were so behind and it was my fault. So, having them qualify gives me peace of mind. I know what I can work on. I know I'm not crazy. And I know I'm giving my kids the best possible chance for growth. (Have I mentioned the research on how effective early intervention is? It's AMAZING!).
And then here are the things I'm supposed to work on with them: (1) Give them choices. Do you want this toy? Or this one? Do you want this piece of fruit or this one? It gives them the ability to reach out and/or communicate verbally to choose one. (2) Label things as we touch and give them things. I do this a lot, but neither baby has used any words to label things yet (milk, mama, dada) - so we're going to work on that. (3) Do words with gestures more often. Example, "Say bye bye to Daddy while he goes to work" and then wave. Or "do you want to go over to your toys?" point to toys. Or "do you want up?" hold hands out simulating being picked up. I'll be honest a lot of this I don't do because there are three of them. I give Connor 400 choices a day - all day long..."do you want to wear this shirt? or this?...do you want toast or oatmeal for breakfast?...do you want to ride with Daddy or Mama to go pick that up?..." and I don't do it as much with the twins because it's just easier to decide for them. So I'm going to work on asking them questions a little more.
So, that's where we're at. Hopefully, I'll be able to post about their OT appointment next week, but with the twins' birthday and our trip to Disneyland, I may not have time. Thank you all for your prayers. As always, we are so blessed to have family, friends, and blog friends who wish the best for our family!

1 comments:

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It sounds like the people that you're working with are wonderful. I understand it being a sense of relief to know what to work on and have some guidance. I hope y'all have a great trip to Disneyland, it's going to be so much fun!!

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