Tuesday, October 18, 2011
My Child's a Genius! But I Knew that Already...
We started intervention last March. At the time, Madeline could not roll over, and every time we put her on her belly she'd either scream her head off or lie there playing possum. At the recommendation of our pediatrician, we had her evaluated for services, and she just barely qualified. We knew her delay was not serious, but since the services were available to us, we figured we might as well take advantage of them. She's been meeting with an occupational therapist for an hour a week ever since.
Today, she scored 16 months in the gross motor skills category, (the same category she was delayed in the first time) so not only has she caught up, she has surpassed her age group. Hoo- ray!
She also got a whopping 19 months in cognitive abilities. We already knew she is a genius! Obviously.
In retrospect, I feel silly about getting so worried over where Madeline "should" be developmentally. Even though I take a secret sort of pride in the scores she got today, I even feel a little silly mentioning them here. They are, after all, just numbers.
As a notorious worry-wart, and first-time parent with a rocky reproductive history, I spent way too much energy worrying over Madeline's skills during her early months. I'm much more relaxed now than I was then. And if I knew then what I know now, I'm not sure I would have had Madeline evaluated.
One of the biggest lessons I've learned over the past year is that Madeline is her own person, and she'll learn and grow at her own pace. Instead of listening to a book or the Internet Gods telling me that she should be doing X, Y, and Z, I should be focusing on the things that make my Maddie Bear unique. Did I really need a number on a chart to tell me how wonderful my baby is? Not really. (P.S. There's a really good post about this at Mandy's blog here.)
One of the women conducting Madeline's evaluation today said she tells her clients to ignore the Internet. You'll inevitably come across someone bragging about their one-year-old running the Boston Marathon, and you begin to wonder....hummm, my baby can't run a marathon yet...
That being said, we had a really positive experience with early intervention. The people were amazing, and it's a fascinating process to watch. What looks like nothing more than playing with a block to me, gives them all sorts of information about a baby's development. Most importantly, they were able to provide us with tips and exercises to help Madeline out. Knowing those tricks and tips gave Eric and I a little confidence boost, and it nudged Madeline just over the hump.
I'm not sure if other states have this program, or if it's just a Massachusetts thing, but it's a truly wonderful resource. I can imagine there are a lot of children and parents out there who truly need their support.
In the meantime, we're looking forward to watching what Madeline's magical little brain does next.