Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My Girl

When Fa was born. I knew something was up with her. Her colicky issues weren't your run of the mill issues. She cried hard. She grew older and more sensitive to noise and crowds and over stimulation. And her social development was a concern of mine. I tried to have her evaluated by EI and they came to my house and told me that there was no evidence of a developmental delay and I should wait until she reaches preschool to try again.

When Fa started pre-school, I had many concerns.

Separating (from her) would be a huge problem (for me). Loud noises like the vacuum and fire drill would totally give the teachers a run for their money. Fa's love for talking. Her shyness...yeah right. I prepared them all for it. She adapted quite well. I did too.

In January, Fa's preschool teacher suggested I stay aware of her Fine Motor Skills because she was showing a little delay in her pencil grip and scissors grip. Since she wrote her letters and words so well, she didn't want Fa getting stuck in the wrong grip. And she also suggested while I'm at it, keep an eye on her Gross Motor Skills because she trips over her own two feet (a whole friggin' lot). I chalked it up to many different facts. She's a lefty, I'm a righty. She doesn't allow me to teach her the correct way to grip. Her body's too big for her brain, she's just as clumsy as her dad...etc.

Then in May, the teacher brought it up again.

This time I couldn't ignore it.

I love this teacher. She loves Fa. She knows Fa really well and she knows how to work with Fa. I trust her. Her biggest concern was when Fa hits kindergarten and the teachers don't coddle as preschool teachers do, it might turn Fa off of school early on and cause difficulties. Kindergarten teachers have no time to perfect a kid's pencil grip it seems. When did kindergarten get so serious?

So I made the initial phone call to the proper channels in order to start evaluating my precious daughter's skills. It all happened very fast after that.

Two full days of Physical Therapy Evaluations, Occupational Therapy Evaluations, Psychological Evaluations and Social/Emotional Evaluations. I was tired. Fa was handling it all like a pro.

The OT therapist said on the spot that she shows a significant delay in her fine motor skills and thought as of that day that she would qualify for OT services. I was not shocked. I knew this was the way it would be.

She did not automatically suggest therapy...she knew all the paperwork would have to go through the loop of the School System and our district.

The Physical Therapist took fast notice of Fa's turned in feet. She's not this bad, but it is prominent and does inhibit her movement. He admitted that she scored too high in the Gross Motor portion of the test but should be seen for her weak ankles and feet.

Then, I forgot about it. I don't know how I did, I just assumed Fa was not going to receive services.

Last Wednesday, I went to the Evaluation Meeting at the elementary school that she will be attending in a year. She qualifies for OT. Just like that. No questions, no fighting for our IDEA rights as tax paying citizens, no begging for some help in catching her up to kids her own age.


She starts in September and will be getting her therapy in a Sensory Gym for her fine motor skills and Sensory Integration. Plus they will come to her preschool when needed.

Since she was an infant I knew she had problems with her sensory intake and she would get overloaded too quickly. Her coping skills left her crying for hours. Me too.

Just as easy as that. My daughter has OT/Sensory issues that according to the special education department in our district qualifies her for services twice a week until she tests out.

My daughter just like that, has a IEP and a therapist.

I am not in the least bit upset, concerned or worried. Don't get me wrong. I am happy that her teacher had the foresight to see her problems and suggest a plan of action. And I'm proud that I did what I had to do to get her the help she needs. Really, I can't help but be surprised it all happened so fast and so easily.

Free therapy can be hard to come by.

Which means... She really has a developmental delay. The girl who has an above average IQ according to the tests, the girl who has a keenly developed vocabulary. My artist. My girl.

My. Girl.

Even for my girl, I would not have made a move if it weren't for her teacher. I knew there was a problem. But I just truly thought she'd "grow out" of it. She's so big for her age, I just thought that her 4.5 year old brain was working overtime with a 6+ year old body.

Goes to show you what I know. Goes to show you how I should have followed my gut over a year ago.

I'm so happy I took that teacher's advice and didn't let my pride in "knowing my child" get in the way. But you know what? I think about it as I'm writing this and I see that I made the move because I "knew my child" had a problem. All I needed was that extra push in the right direction.

Tomorrow, I wall call around for a few gyms in the neighborhood to see if we can fit two therapy days a week into Fa's already busy fall schedule.

I did it. As her mother and her advocate, I did it. For my girl. I did it.

Don't question yourselves friends. Always follow your gut. It's never wrong. Thank God I did.


  1. Your Girl sounds a lot like My Boy. We're also seeing an OT for sensory issues. It feels good to have someone "professional" tell us that we're right about our kids, huh? Sounds like your daughter's teacher is amazing! What a blessing she's turned out to be for you.

    I invite you to read my blog wherein I talk about my son's issues with sensory "stuff", etc... ALso, there are a few links on my blog to other moms whose kids have sensory integration issues...

  2. It is so good she is getting what she needed. its not too late she'll get what she needs and hopefully as she grows this will all be a distant memory. I am following my gut too getting an EEG for my baby girl. It is so hard you just want everything to be ok. But when its not we can handle it were mama's and that means we are warriors!

  3. *standing up and applauding wildly*

    good for you, hon. you can never go wrong when you trust your gut.

  4. So glad for you and Fa. It can be extremely irritating trying to get school districts to cooperate and listen to the parent, expeially a little later in the game. It was that way for us, anyway. So that is a huge thing, just having them working with you without making you really have to fight and beg.

    That mom instinct is rarely ever wrong.

  5. I'm so glad that Fa is going to be getting the aid that she needs and I am so proud of you for handling everything so well. This is going to make everything so much better for you, Fa and everyone else involved.

    The true mommy instinct is never wrong.


  6. Can I just say how impressed I am with your pre-school for not only paying attention enought to catch it, but being brave enought to bring it to your attention twice. I also am most impressed with your willingness to face it head on and getting your daughter the help she needs now, instead of ignoring it. Bravo and best of luck...She will still shine brightly. Great job momma.

  7. Good for you ... and for Fa. And good for your state to handle it so quickly and painlessly (for you).

  8. Your story is just great!!! I used to work with children under 5 and have had to deal with some similar situations. I would have love to have dealt with a parent like you!!!
    You're putting your child first!!! GOOD FOR YOU!!!! I had so many parents who put themselves first and didn't want to deal with the problems.

  9. i like that JJ. always trust your gut. good job, kathleen

  10. I'm so proud you were able to get her all of the programs that she needs and it is at school.

    Being a "homeschool" mom, I was worried that I would have trouble getting help for my youngest son Daniel. He had two different sets of tubes as a baby, and it had really affected his hearing, which in turn affected his speech.
    Long story short, the speech therapist at our local public school was awesome, and I had no trouble getting him enrolled in speech therapy.
    He took speech from kindergarten through third grade.
    At the end of the third grade school year, the teacher said, "He's through with speech....That's the good news!"
    I looked at her a little puzzled and I asked, "So what's the bad news?"
    She looked at me and said, "He just flunked his vision test...The child can barely see."

    I was so shocked. I seriously had no idea.
    So bless his heart, his first pair of glasses was bifocals, and he hated them.:(

    It's hard to watch your baby have any thing to overcome...You just want to twitch your nose like Samantha and fix it for them.

    I'm done now.
    I am very happy that you are getting everything taken care of so well. You and Fa will both be so blessed by her achievements.

    God Bless,

  11. good for you. my sass has spd and has some of the same delays, although she does great in preschool and really most folks couldn't tell - but a mom knows. we see an ot once a week. if you want to ask any questions offline email me feener44atgmailcom. also i belong to an spd yahoo group that has been VERY helpful.

  12. Good for you. FOllowing your gut is always best.

    And good for the teacher for noticing.

    Hugs to you all.

    p.s. - her therapy sounds like it could be fun. Can I come too?

  13. Good for you. FOllowing your gut is always best.

    And good for the teacher for noticing.

    Hugs to you all.

    p.s. - her therapy sounds like it could be fun. Can I come too?

  14. I remember seeing Becca's eye turn, wondering if maybe it wasn't right. I even took her to the doctor but he dismissed me. It was MONTHS before I gathered up the courage to take her in again. Then it was worse and she could have lost her vision in that eye!

    We must always ALWAYS trust our gut.

    Your daughter has wonderful talents that will excel and she will be wonderful with a little extra help.

  15. My son has been getting therapy since he was an infant. Physical, occupational and speech. But, two years ago, I actually had a speech therapist who told me he had met all his goals and didhen't need to attend anymore. Really? Because even my untrained ear could hear the boy didn't speak correctly. Needless to say, I took the steps to get him back in therapy and he's doing great. You are right. Follow your gut.

  16. That is a terrific of example of the system working in someone's favor. More often then not it seems to be the reverse of that.
    Yay for Fa and ya for Fa's terrific mommy!

  17. Fa is a very lucky little girl to have you for a Mommy. I"m trusting my gut and NOT sending the Queen to preschool (the preschools around here wont do anything for her). We'll see about DeBoy when the time comes.

  18. I always tell my daughters (they are all mothers) to follow their gut. Who knows your kid better than you, right?

  19. You did good. Real good. Bravo to Fa's teacher also. Early intervention is key to getting these kids where they need to be.

    Three of my four kids have sensory integration dysfunction (jury's out on the 2 year old)with my oldest also having Tourettes, ADHD, CAPD, and OCD. Early intervention has really helped her. My kids go to an excellent private school where they get the individual attention they need. At the beginning of Connor's third year of preschool he could barely write his name. With a special pencil, fine motor activities, and the help of his great teachers he was writing and drawing within 5 months. He's entering the first grade this year and can barely string sounds together but I'm confidant that he will be reading by the end of the school year. I thought my older two would never read and now they read at their grade level.

    I'm so proud of you for being open to hearing that Fa has some issues that need intervention. Thanks to you and a great teacher she will get the help she needs to help her be successful.

  20. Rock and Roll MamaJuly 30, 2008 at 11:52 AM

    Good mama! My oldest did OT and speech therapy for two years,(OT paid for out of pocket-gahhhh) and at 11, there's little or no indication that he ever had any delays.
    Now my two year old is following in his footsteps, with OT and speech,(he qualified for services, thank goodness)and it's so much easier for me as I look at his brother and think, "He'll be all right." And kids LOVE therapy.:) My 11 year old asks to go back to OT. Good luck!


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