Yo soy La Lay

adventures in family, faith, and Down syndrome

Early Intervention

on January 22, 2014

So Tessa qualifies for something called Early Intervention (EI) because of her diagnosis of Down Syndrome. It covers a variety of therapies from birth to age three that will help her develop at an appropriate pace. At the age of three, when EI is “done,” Tessa will start school. She will not wait until she is five like a “typical” child.

Yesterday, we had our EI evaluation to get a better idea of what Tessa’s strengths and weaknesses are. Based on her evaluation, she will receive services to help her grow. More on that later. For now, here is what we know about our little girl:

1. She is strong and active! Babies with DS tend to have low muscle tone. This doesn’t refer to the strength of the muscle, but rather how much energy it takes to get the muscles moving. In terms of her reflexes and general movement, she scored in the two-month-old range! And as one therapist put it, “wiggly babies seem to do even better.” After hearing that, I flashed back to the constant kicks and rolls in my belly during pregnancy… This girl can move!

2. Tessa’s neck strength needs some work. All babies are born with bobble heads, but Tessa is going to need some extra help here. Tummy time is in order!

3. With modifications, Tessa is a good eater. When eating, she currently lies on her side perpendicular to the person feeding her in what is called a “sidelying” position (creative name, I know). She uses a “preemie” nipple on her bottle. We will continue to work on getting her to eat “normally,” upright, with a standard bottle. We are also supposed to encourage her to use a pacifier and to put her fingers and other objects (toys, teething rings) in her mouth.

4. Socially and emotionally, she is content, a good sleeper, easily calmed, and not easily rattled by things like her older sister shoving an electric toothbrush into her mouth. However, it is tricky for her to do too many “things” at one time, so we have to isolate the skills we want to work on. For example, when we work on vision/eye contact, we hold her limbs still to keep her from using too much energy on the wrong body part. 🙂

We are happy to report that the overall consensus among the therapists is that generally, we aren’t catching Tessa up to her peers, but rather maintaining her progress and moving forward. This is great news! From here, Tessa will have physical therapy once a week, speech (for feeding) twice a month, and she will see the developmental therapist once a month. I can’t believe how much support and help we have gotten with Tessa so far. We have very high hopes for her future and know that there is no limit to what she will be able to do in her life!

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3 responses to “Early Intervention

  1. Andrea says:

    Thank you for this Maggie!

  2. Rosa ragano-/strutz says:

    Maggie, I know we weren’t super close in highschool and I’m not sure you know this but my sister is special needs… She’s doesn’t have down syndrome but has her own special needs:) it takes special people to parent children with special needs and god must have known you guys were perfect for the job! I am the oldest of three and my sister is the second and I love her so much I can’t even explain! Life is going to be crazy but it is all worth it! I truly believe kids with special needs are angels from heaven and have the purist hearts!! I know I’m not a mom yet but if I can ever help with anything or you just need to talk we are Facebook friends:) Goodluck and enjoy the ride:)

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