Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Early Intervention: The Intake

So this afternoon we had our first meeting with the Early Intervention Program. One of the Service Coordinators, who happened to be a RN, came to the house to discuss Giovanni's participation in the program. The one thing that I learned is that with a diagnosis of CP, he automatically qualifies for the program. Now this doesn't mean that he will have to use the services, but if we want to we can.

For those of you who may not now, the Early Intervention Program is a statewide program that provides many different types of early intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities (birth to age 3) and their families. It is led by the Department of Health. This is a program that every family has access to and it is not based on income. Some of the services that they are offer include:
  • assistive technology devices and services
  • audiology
  • family training, counseling, home visits and support groups
  • medical services for diagnostic purposes
  • nursing services
  • nutrition services
  • occupational therapy
  • physical therapy
  • speech-language pathology
  • vision services
  • special instruction
  • health services
I was very surprised to learn that there is no cost to us for this program as it is a State mandated program. They try to bill the insurance for some reimbursement but since my health plan is a national plan, it does not have to adhere to New York State Insurance Law, therefore they will not reimburse anything. This kind of made me feel bad considering how expensive the insurance is to carry!

The next step is the evaluation. For our specific evaluation a physical therapist and a speech-language pathologist with come to the house to assess Giovanni since those are the areas where we have the most concern. I should hear by Friday when that will be.

I am not quite sure what to think about all of this. If anyone has any experience with an Early Intervention program, I would love to hear from you! 


  1. It's wonderful he qualifies for the programs. Most speech language pathologists are wonderful people who love kids (I work w several and have many in my family).

  2. I don't have direct contact with a Birth-to-3 program, but I have friends whose twins were born very early and they've been receiving services since they left the hospital. I think it's a phenomenal program wherein the activities/treatments are specifically designed for what your child needs.

    Hopefully the evaluation will come back that he needs very few services, but how wonderful that they will be able to help with whatever he may need.

  3. I have been back several times, but I hesitate to comment on this one. I have what can only be described as a love/hate relationship with our Early Start program and the state run therapy program we've had since the boys aged out of Early Start after 3. Here's a few things I've experienced:

    1) It is incredibly hard to have others pick out your child(ren)'s weaknesses over and over again. The way our eval system is articulated (in CA) only points out weaknesses, which to people who celebrate how far our kids have come, it was frustrating to have none of that recognized. So, I dreaded eval results because I turned into this depressed and weepy mess every time. I beat myself up for all that I wasn't doing, etc. It was a vicious spiral. I learned to focus on the goals and pretty much leave the rest of the report alone.

    2) Find a case manager you trust. They are critical.

    3) It is okay to "fire" therapists who don't mesh with you or your child. You will be working closely with these people, so it is important that you can trust their input. (We loved our ES therapists. The ones since then have been less stellar.)

    4) Just because they recommend something doesn't mean you HAVE to do it. Sometimes you've got to take your entire family into consideration (and yes stress on you counts) when you decide if/when to do a therapy. Saying no to something now doesn't mean you can never do it. Plus doing too much can lead to therapy fatigue.

    5) Also consider what your insurance will cover as far as therapy goes. Call them and ask directly. Sometimes it will surprise you. (Swimming therapy was a surprise for me.)

    6) The hardest for me was to remember I am the mom, not the therapist. Not every single waking moment must be a therapy session. G is a kid first; he needs the chance to be one.

  4. Birth to Three (the program in my state) is an amazing resource. One of my twins was born with a severe head tilt and limited mobility nerve damage and etc. They came to my home and did a complete evaluation of my son. I had good health insurance that paid for the PT, OT, neurologist, CTscans and MRIs, but if I hadn't they would have paid for everything. Without BtoThree, my son could have been permanently disabled. Our regular Ped. didn't see anything wrong with my son at all, but he would have once it was too late to reverse the damage. Early intervention programs are an amazing resource.

  5. Good luck - this seems very positive, good luck xoxo