Little Man just turned 3 years old. While I cannot believe we have reached three, we also reached another milestone in his development. We had to say goodbye to our therapists through First Steps. He has already asked when Ms. Lisa and Ms. Megan are coming to play and has looked out the door for their cars.
Let’s Go Back
A year ago, at our son’s two year check up he did not check all the boxes on his milestones. His speech development was not where it should be. He did not have any medical issues to slow development, and our doctor was not overly concerned but instructed us to contact her in a couple of months if he had not improved. A couple weeks went by and I just could not stop thinking about why he was not where he needed to be with his speech. My husband and I constantly talked to him, we read every night and sang songs. He just was not picking up speech and was frustrated he could not communicate with us. It was starting to lead to some behavior issues and tantrums. I called our pediatrician back and told her I wanted to look into getting him help instead of waiting a couple of more months. The holidays were approaching and I did not want to lose more time. My “mommy gut” just said that we needed to help him.
The Process to Request First Steps
Our pediatrician sent paperwork requesting an evaluation to First Steps. We were contacted within a week to schedule an intake meeting. During our intake meeting, we filled out paperwork and randomly selected a therapy provider for our area. We selected Children’s Therapy Connection and loved both of our therapists. During that meeting, the evaluating therapists contacted our intake coordinator and said they were in the area with a cancellation and could see us within the hour. I was so happy we could get a jump on the process. Our intake coordinator said that hardly ever happens so quickly! A speech and occupational therapist came to our home and played with Little Man for his evaluation for an hour. They talked to us about their initial thoughts and reported back in about a week. Shortly after, we were set up with a service coordinator who explained the process, the costs (income based) and what therapies were recommended. She did quarterly check-ins with us and the whole process was seamless. We had great communication and started within a month of our initial evaluation.
Recommendation and Play Time
My Little Man was recommended to receive speech therapy once a week and occupational therapy twice a month. Therapy took place in our home. Every week, Ms. Lisa came and sat on our floor and played with Damon. She taught him some sign language that encouraged his communication skills. Once he learned some basic communication skills, he took off! It was amazing the difference in a short amount of time. Little Man really opened up. He started associating her with new games and toys. He learned to ask for things when he wanted them and the differences were wonderful. Ms. Megan came every other week and he loved playing games with her. My guy is an active one and really enjoyed the physicality she brought to her sessions. More than helping my son, these women became an amazing resource for this mama. They helped me understand patience and how to communicate best with our little one. I feel like I learned as much as my Little Man did.
Endings and Love Notes
Services for my little guy ended on October 1st. While I am ecstatic of the progress he has made, I am sad not to see these ladies on a regular basis. I know that they have given my son the foundation of learning, listening (*snicker*) and growing.
To Ms. Lisa and Ms. Megan~
Thank you for all you have accomplished and helped our son to accomplish in the past 10 months. I had faith that he would improve, but I had no idea of the strides he would make. We can never give you a gift of thanks like the gift you have given us in our son’s life. I am grateful for your patience and guidance. Little Man is continuing to grow and develop with the foundation pieces you have laid in place for him. Thank you for making therapy fun!
What to Do
If you suspect delays, consult your pediatrician. Push for evaluation if your “mommy gut” is telling you that your little one is not where they need to be. Services with First Steps ends at 3 years old. After age three, children need to be evaluated by the school systems to see if they qualify for services within their early child centers/preschools.
I knew nothing about First Steps or what to expect and that is why I felt compelled to share our First Steps experience with our Indy Moms. Sometimes our littles just need an extra push or assistance. It does not mean that there is anything wrong with your little one. As a stay at home mom and kid, we needed the outside influence to assist with his communication skills. Therapy for my guy was fun! He obviously loved it, as he still waits at the window looking for the now familiar cars of Ms. Lisa and Ms. Megan.