Tuesday, July 28, 2009

ECI Tuesday

For those of you who aren't familiar with the above acronym, Early Childhood Intervention is the long version...and they showed up today. Fellow triplet and preemie mommies should be more than familiar with ECI. If you aren't, do some research. This is a free service provided by the state/county and your children will benefit from their services. If your children appear developmentally delayed or if they were born prematurely, simply call ECI and request an evaluation. It's never too early. We started when the girls were less than 4 weeks old, corrected, in Texas. Today was our first evaluation since arriving in Ohio and we are very excited about the therapy our daughters will be receiving over the next few months.

The evaluation starts off with a question/answer session between the parents and the developmental specialist. In our case, this included questions regarding milestones achieved, verbal and non-verbal communication, eating habits, etc. In the midst of the question/answer session, the developmental specialist also works with each child individually, utilizing toys and objects to help determine how a child is progressing. Following the evaluation, the developmental specialist will then assess the information and determine the child's developmental "age". Based on the results, the child may qualify for occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, a nutritionist, etc.

Our evaluation went a little better than we expected. 29-week preemies are generally expected to reach milestones 2 to 3 months later than full-term babies born on the same date. We therefore only consider our daughters' due date in calculating their age when it comes to milestones. For example, although our daughters were born on October 29, 2008 and will be 9 months old tomorrow, their due date was actually January 11th, so their corrected age is 6 1/2 months. That said, they should be reaching milestones for 6/7 month olds right now. Fortunately, Makenna and Lauren are doing so well that they have not only reached milestones for their corrected age, but have also reached quite a few for their actual age. In other words, they are doing better than we expected. Olivia is behind her sisters, but is generally where she needs to be for her adjusted age. This was even pretty good news.

Makenna is doing so well that she requires no intervention right now. Lauren, however, needs to work on her attention span and focus when it comes to social interaction. Additionally, she has trouble initiating tasks where she is required to pick up and hold small objects. We have to pry her hands open to help her understand what she needs to do. Occupational therapy should help with the latter. Olivia will receive OT and PT to help her develop muscle strength so that she can gain more control over her movements. She rolls over fairly well and is technically very strong, but she is floppy.

So, that was our ECI experience for the day. If you feel your child may not be meeting milestones and especially if your child was born prematurely, please get in touch with your local ECI office. Do your child a favor and get an evaluation ASAP so that he/she may benefit from therapy sooner than later. For a general overview of where your child should be developmentally, visit http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/milestones/index.html


The Merritt Family said...

When in Ohio are you? We are headed to Dayton next week and have an ECI appt. set up soon after we arrive. Unfortunately, we just found out about ECI (the boys are 5 months). I am somewhat excited to have them evaluated so I know where about they are at in regards to development.

Haymonds said...

That's cool! Good to know, although not something full-term babies usually have to worry about at all--PLUS kids all develop at a different speed. E.g., Creed was a VERY slow crawler/walker, but he's way ahead of the game in speech and vocabulary. Guess we live in a small apartment! :) Good to know, though. Hopefull Livy can get all caught up!

Halosue2009@aol.com said...

Hi, I'm Sue , Granny to triplets due in the next 2-4 weeks( Sept 1st)But my daughter thinks its going to be sooner,she has NO skin left! Our's are GGB. We live Fl. Loved your blog and pictures, was very touching. God bless all five of you. Great to read awesome stories, about triplet families.!