After my journey with my son and publishing a book about early intervention, I had a third child. With my youngest I was fast to notice some potential concerns with her development. Did I have that fear….
Is it Autism?
However, with my experience and knowledge came a completely different experience with early intervention. This time I was meet with countless suggestions about how we could get help and who could help. To be honest of my feelings; it upset me that I was actually able to get help for my daughter who was possibly having minor issues but years prior when I was so desperate for help, I couldn’t access anything. My youngest, Vanessa, was able to qualify for early steps in Florida. We qualified in the first attempt. I thought, maybe because of covid and the interview had to be done via video conference. She was able to have an early interventionist visit her weekly; then as time moved on we requested speech in addition. For a year, she received services and support to help her development.
When my son was two and then two and a half he “did not qualify” for early steps intervention. In my book, I explain how I had to ask, search and research options to get therapy to meet my son’s needs. It was so difficult and he was in need of help. Now, the next time around teachers were suggesting she needed help and referring her for evaluation. I knew all the right things to say and all the buzz words that would indicate she was in need of early intervention. I did all those things even though I didn’t have the same level of worry as with my son the 1st time. My experiences led me to remain calm and use my knowledge of early intervention to help make services available to my toddler; getting access to free resources.
We spent a year in early steps until we exited the program as we could not continue as a three year old; she was aged out for not meeting the qualificiation for services. From there, the teacher said she could still use the help. So, we started getting some help from PARC Family Focus. In addition, we meet with an R’CLub Project Challenge representative who thought or suggested that she would need speech therapy. She has tried to help but has limited suggestions and reach to access to therapy. After meeting with her; I moved ahead with a private speech therapy assessment.
Honestly, she brought out my anger. I always debrief my background information, experience and knowledge and at the end of the meeting I felt that she was giving me empty suggestions that without my experience I would have taken like gold nuggets of hope and promise to get Vanessa help.
My feelings were yucky but I was able to move out of my anger when I realized I needed to take action. Once I scheduled and received the speech evaluation, I was able to submit an application for assistance with Step Up for Students. We’ve been waitlisted but it’s okay. I know that I had the knowledge to try to do more. Everyone continued to tell me she needed more help and because I didn’t think it was severe I hestitated to take action.
Once I did the speech evaluation and applied for the Early Steps scholarship we were waitlisted. Even though we didn’t get access to the funds to pay for speech therapy at this time, I have noticed an improvement in her behavior and speech. Her teachers tell me about how much she is talking and her confidence is growing. I can also see her growing and learning. I always knew she would be great and she’d turn out just fine. Now that I have taken action, I’m move confident as her advocate. All long the thing she needed to grow and learn was for me to advocate for her; be her voice. Her confidence is like a mirror; I see now how my confidence to speak for her has made her more confident to try and speak more!
Do you need more confidence in being your child’s advocate? Let me know!