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.