Yo soy La Lay

adventures in family, faith, and Down syndrome

Prep work

on January 8, 2015

We are getting ready for our next IFSP review. If you remember waaaay back when Tessa was born, I shared that an IFSP is a document that lists all of Tessa’s “goals” for development. The first evaluation and meeting was more than a little overwhelming. Several therapists descended upon my home and spent at least an hour firing questions off about my 4-week old baby’s development…. Then, they asked me what I wanted her to do.

Um. Hmm. Well, she’s a month old, and I have no understanding of reasonable expectations at this point, so I don’t know, you tell me what she should do.

(Which they can’t, because the IFSP is a family plan – family directed. So, fellow Ds mommies, remember that. If you want speech for your child, make sure you write a speech goal. Don’t let them tell you to wait until… until whenever they say.)

I came out of that first meeting more than a little shell-shocked. And I’ve been dreading the annual review ever since.

The difference this time is that her evaluations have happened during regular therapy sessions, so there will be no barrage of questions from four different people at one time. However, I sat through each of her evaluations individually (except OT) and believe me – I have answered enough questions. John also saw his first eval ever (DT). I think it was more than a little enlightening. Now to my most stressful part – goal writing.

Since the first meeting, I vowed to never go into a review without being prepared to get what we need. At the six-month, I wrote several goals for the plan before we met and it made the meeting a breeze – I shared the goals, they wrote them down, we got all our therapies, done and DONE.

Though I know it wasn’t, it seemed easier six months ago. It also seems like I had a lot more no, she doesn’t do that yet answers on her evals this time than last. That is probably not a distorted reality. The older they get, the more checkboxes to conquer. Believe me, I’m ok with the ‘no’ answers today. My own challenge is to figure out how to best help her progress without also making myself feel like I have to spend every waking moment therapizing her (and subsequently feeling guilty when I don’t do all that I can).

No, therapizing is not a word. I know.  Can you forgive my need to make up new words so that I can share our story?  Thanks.  You rock.

She will do what she wants, in her own time. It has been our mantra since day one. And right now, we, her generally mature and responsible parents, are tasked with advocating for the tools she needs to help her do it (whatever ‘it’ is) well. So let’s hope we don’t screw this up. 😉

I’m counting on you guys!!  

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4 responses to “Prep work

  1. This brought back memories of Willow’s first assessment.. at 2 weeks old!! I had no idea how to answer their questions. How do you set goals when your life has just been rocked?

    Good luck!! Although.. I have a feeling that no matter what goals you set.. Tessa will surpass them. 🙂

  2. Judy Lay says:

    Willow’s mom is right. Watch her soar this year just as she did her first year! OMA anticipates more remarkable and fun goals met!

  3. I love your attitude that Tessa will do what she wants in her time. I am realising if I don’t take the same attitude I will be absolutely overwhelmed with all the therapizing (nice) Eva needs. There’s eating and physio and sight and hearing… It’s too much. And even when I feel like I’m not doing enough (and really, I’m probably not doing enough) she still makes progress. The sensory and communication stuff is what gets me the most stressed. I think going back to work will force me to relax a bit because I just won’t be with Eva for the working day.

  4. It’s good to hear that you don’t want to over-‘therapize’ her…sometimes I worry about kiddos who receive early intervention and when they just get to ‘hang out’ like kiddos do!! Can’t forget to let her kick back and have fun! And kudos for putting so much thought into her goals this time around. Other parents are a great resource…I learned from a coworker with a son who is now in early childhood that she got all this fun therapy equipment (swing, slide, etc) because she mentioned how much she thought it would help his development in her annual reviews.

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