The First Step with First Steps

Yesterday the intake coordinator for First Steps came out to the house to enroll Lola in the program. First Steps is an early intervention program that is funded by the State although you are required to pay something based on your income (if not covered by insurance). They believe that every child (from birth to three years) with a disability or developmental delay should be provided the services they need to help them excel in life. Under Federal Law, every family has the right to an evaluation, but not every child will be allowed into the program. There are certain criteria that the child must meet in order to be approved for services. The child must be developmentally delayed by 20% in two areas or 25% in one area. If a child is not delayed by the percentages but has a medical condition that could cause delay than the child will be approved. This determination is done by two therapists that come into the home to evaluate the child. You all know I was upset that it was going to take so long for Lola to actually start receiving services, but after speaking with our coordinator, I now understand the process and I respect it.

Lola’s physical evaluation is actually scheduled on her 1st birthday! While we are well aware that Lola is delayed, our coordinator assured us that she would be approved for the program because she has an actual medical diagnosis. From what I understand, any parent can call up and say their child need services when in fact that isn’t the case at all. This is why the process is so thorough as it assures that the services are being provided to those that actually need them.

After Lola’s evaluation, Rob and I will be in charge of picking the therapists. We will receive backgrounds on a number of therapists and from there we will decide who we think best fits Lola’s needs. We have decided to continue on with the physical therapy as well as the occupational therapy. The coordinator hadn’t worked with a child who has a vision impairment so she is looking into the vision services Lola will receive as well. The therapy will take place in our home as First Steps believes the child benefits from being in their natural environment.

Overall I was very pleased with how the meeting went. I was skeptical because we left the best therapists back in Costa Rica, but I have faith Lola will be in good hands once again.

I know I’ve been a bad blogger, but we have been quite busy around this old house of ours. The problem with being a landlord is that no person will treat your house as you would. This old beauty is feeling the three years of neglect, but Rob and I have been trying hard to put some life back into her. We put down new carpet in Lola’s room and while she isn’t sleeping there yet (I’m a paranoid mom…what can I say?), she sure likes playing in there.

We still have to paint (if we could decide on a darn theme) and add some finishing touches, but it is nice that she has her own space to play in. Speaking of playing…Lola can now sit up with no problems at all. I still wouldn’t trust her alone on a hard floor, but it is crazy to see her sitting up and playing with her toys. She loves her xylophone as well as her drum set. In fact, I think we may have a musician in the family! She is also getting very good at getting up on all fours. It’s as if she is genuinely contemplating going forward, but she just can’t figure out how to do it. I swear it is only a matter of time (remember this is much longer in the special needs world) before she is crawling…than Rob really has his work cut out for him as a stay at home dad! Lola babbles all day now. She says mama, dada, baba, yaya and other fun syllables. Of course some days she chats more than others, but I can’t express how much I love hearing that tiny voice. She really is doing awesome. It’s as if there is an awareness that is blossoming within her. We knew she just needed more time, but we have always been confident it was there.

We don’t have concrete Christmas plans yet, but we are looking forward to starting traditions of our own. Lola loves tearing paper apart, so I can’t wait to see her go to town on her presents. I’m thinking it will be low key which is fine by me. All I want for Christmas is to be with my family and I already know that is coming true!