Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Birthdays and Delays

A few weeks ago Natalie attended her first ever birthday party for one of her classmates who turned 3.  It was held at a gym that is especially designed for little kids.  She had a great time and we are looking forward to going to another birthday party in a couple of weeks.

As I watched Natalie navigate around on the gym equipment I was stunned by the difference between her and her classmates who are all within 6 months of each other in age.  The likelihood that Natalie spent most of her waking hours in a walker or in a potty chair for the first 21 months of her life was apparent. Although she has made rapid progress since she came home 10 months ago, we felt like she could benefit from additional assistance to help her catch up the rest of the way.  

Natalie was recently tested and qualified for physical therapy to help her gain strength and gross motor skills, occupational therapy to help her with her fine motor skills, speech therapy to help with her articulation and developmental therapy which is a combination of the other three.  She tested almost at her age level for expressive and receptive speech which is amazing to me after such a short exposure to English.  She is speaking in paragraphs now and it is so much fun to talk to her.  Her innovative little brain comes up with things that sometimes make us laugh and sometimes make us shake our heads in awe of how smart and creative she is.

I'll post updates on her progress in her various therapies in the coming months.  I wish we had started this process last spring, but since neither her peditrician or teachers were concerned we were a bit blind to the problem.  I want to encourage families that are still waiting or are recently home with their children to seek out help sooner rather than later.  Many states offer these therapies for free.


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4 comments:

Heather Attwood said...

I bet that she tested as having above average upperbody strenght and that everytime you take her to the park she wants to hang from something. Just something that I have noticed when interacting with the few Shangrao families so far.
Elspeth has had similar delays. We refused to have her completely discharged from Early Intervention for many of the same concerns that you mentioned. We find out next month whether she is officially "normal" developmentally and with speech or if we will be picked up for further therapy.
She looks like she has come a long way so I doubt that you will be in therapy for too long. A lot of parents wouldn't even pursue therapy for fear of labelling. However, by the time she is in kindergarten you will not be able to tell that she had therapy because of your intervention.
As an aside, love the hair bows and am feeling a bit jealous that Elspeth remains follically challenged.

Bebe Blogger said...

Great pictures and video. What a fun looking party! Funny that it was a Cars party because Audrey insists she wants a Cars party for her fifth birthday. lol

I agree with your approach on therapy and early intervention. It's better to start early. It never hurts to! Better to start when children are young so they can improve quicker. I initially had fears of labeling when we decided to enroll Audrey in speech therapy. Like Heather mentioned about Kindergarten, Audrey will no longer be in speech by then. The combination of therapy and time is such an amazing thing!

Best of luck to y'all! I'm sure Natalie will come a long way - fast! :)

mama of 5 said...

I find myself becoming nostalgic as we have been home with our Renee for 6 months. I was looking through your blog posts when you got your referral and when you traveled to China. I had not paid attention to the fact that our daughters are only a few weeks apart in age. They spent about the same amount of time in the orphanage. I wish we could be able to talk to one another. Would you be open to exchanging phone numbers? If you leave a message on my blog, I won't publish it and you could leave your phone number. I am not sure if this message I am leaving will be published right away or you read it before publishing. Here is the blog address if you forgot: wellingcrew.blogspot.com Hope to hear from you.

Charity, Gary, Katie, Louie & Natalie said...

Heather, I'm not sure about her upper body strength. To me she seems pretty weak all over. She gets stronger all the time though. PT starts tomorrow. I think that and the OT will make a big difference. I agree with your kindergarten comment. I think our girls will be all caught up by then.

We are hair bow challenged in a different way. Natalie is obsessed with them and usually has a melt down if she doesn't have one in her hair at all times. She is also extremely attached to her Hello Kitty Easter dress and puts in on most every day when she gets home from school. I bet Elspeth's hair will get much thicker during the coming year.

Natalie says hi to Elspeth!