Wednesday, September 18, 2013

When do you make that call?

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"Do you think we should call early intervention?"

I'm asked this question a great deal and I'm very happy to discuss it with anyone.  One of the biggest reasons for me starting this blog was to help other parents.  To give other families help and hope - things I didn't have when we first began our journey.

See, as a parent I've been in your shoes.  I've been left wondering why my child isn't doing things others his age are doing.  I've posed the question to his pediatrician and (like many of you) were told "Don't worry, all children develop a little differently.  He'll catch up.  It's normal"

I can see you shaking your head and agreeing with me right now.  You've definitely heard some form of this answer.  This is the answer that puts your fears at ease, at least most of them.  If you are looking for assurance, this is the answer you want to hear from me - but it is also the one I will never utter to another parent.  Llike you I've wanted that assurance that my child was "okay".  I wanted to feel better.  I wanted my fear to be wrong.  I craved reassurance that my gut was wrong.  It was easier for me to not know for sure because there was still a chance it would be okay.  I was told over and over again that it would be, and it helped for a bit.  I want you to go back and read that paragraph again though.  Notice each reason is something that makes you feel better as a parent.  I want this.  Easier for me.

The harsh reality of this is that not all children "catch up".  That each day you are sitting delaying making a call  because of how it makes you feel is another day your child is missing out on help they may need.  Maybe they will catch up, but maybe they are in the small group of children that don't.  The call is free, the evaluation is free, the services are free.  Over and over research has shown that early intervention leads to better outcomes.  There is quite literally nothing to lose by calling and finding out.  Knowledge is power, friends.

I know someone is reading this now and saying "No, you are wrong.".  You aren't ready to face the reality of knowing for sure.  I know, I've been you.  I've raised both of my boys wondering at each and every milestone whether or not they were typically developing.  I lived in fear at each milestone.  I distanced myself from other parents with children the same age and when I did end up around them I studied them looking for things they were doing better to assure myself again.  Then, when Emmalina came along we chose to do it the easy way.  She was enrolled in early intervention at just six weeks old.  I had assurance at each step of the way exactly where she was developmentally.  Not just a 15 minute well baby visit, but with developmental specialists who could answer my questions, dispell my fears, and give me things to work on should any of those milestones fall short.  I knew that she would be getting help right as she needed it.   It gave me the freedom to enjoy it a little more and stress much less.  I look back now and wish I could have done it this way with the boys.  While I try not to dwell on this, the question will always be there for me:  "How much different would it have been if I had made that call earlier for Ayden?"

So if you are a parent reading this who is asking that question, please don't wait.  If you are asking it then something is triggering that thought.  Trust your instincts, face your fears, and dare to be wrong.