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.
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.