After my handsome baby boy was born I started comparing. He was my 2nd child and I thought I knew how things were supposed to go. I found myself constantly saying “Well, she didn’t do that.” or “How come he hasn’t done that yet? ” I know you are not supposed to compare but as a mother it is very hard. Especially when it’s your 2nd child and you know a little more 🙂
When baby boy turned a fun 8 mths old I couldn’t wait to start watching him feed himself. He was eating every kind of jarred baby food and just couldn’t get enough of it. I started in on the Gerber puffs like I had with my daughter. Well, he did nothing. The puffs just sat on his tray. I’d try to feed them to him and he would immediately spit them out and or gag. I decided to wait another month then try again. The next month, same thing. This time I was trying very soft pancakes or beans. Still spitting and or gagging. Vomiting also came along. Oh the joys of cleaning a high chair full of baby vomit!
At baby’s 10 mth check up I mentioned it to the Dr. She didn’t see a real concern but said out of peace of mind to me she’d refer me to ECI (Early childhood Intervention). ECI is a statewide program for ages birth to age 3. Evaluations and assessments are free of charge. Within a few weeks I did receive a phone call. Tons and tons of questions were asked. We set up an office visit evaluation.
We scheduled the evaluation during our Spring Break. Baby boy was 11 mths old. Our evaluation was very long. They had me bring in food and let them see what happens. There were 2 specialists and 1 intern that basically played with him while I sat there too trying to answer all the questions. It was a little overwhelming all the stuff they were asking. Basically they were doing a battery of assessments including gross motor, speech, and feeding. Baby just sat joyfully and played and or sat on my lap. He wasn’t walking at the time but he would stand on 2 legs and walk with me holding his hands. When the evaluation was finally over I got the results that he qualified for services. 2 services actually, feeding therapy and speech therapy. It was determined that at 11 mths he was functioning feeding wise at about 8 mths. But, Speech? Yes, I thought it was a little bizarre myself but he qualified for speech services because at 11 mths old he was not waving ‘bye-bye’. Our services would be given by a speech therapist (that was in our evaluation) and she would work on feeding and speech with them 2X a month. I was thrilled to have some help and support!
The day we came home from the evaluation. I sat him in his high chair for lunch. He was grabbing for a pretzel. I gave him one (because I was ALWAYS) trying. I kid you not, he took that pretzel right up to his mouth and started chewing away. Seriously. No gagging, no vomiting, No tears. Then he started signing for ‘more’. That’s how it’s been with him. He does things on his own terms. The next month brought our first therapy visit. She was wonderful. I explained that he did not like to hold his own bottle. She said she had an easy fix. She took him, plopped him on the floor on a pillow (so he was inclined), handed him the bottle and put his hands on it. That baby laid right there and held his bottle for the first time. I felt like such a fool!! So typical, right? Over the next month he mastered all of his feeding goals and we worked on speech. At 1 year old he was only saying “Uhh-ohh”. A few other words came like “here ya go” and “good to go” but that’s it. No “Momma” or “Daddy”.
Fast forward now to present time. He’s been in speech therapy almost a year. In fact, his 1 year re-evaluation is coming up. He’s made tremendous progress. He now has over 15 words he uses. Some of his words are: go-go, Dada or Daddy, Sissy, Mama, up, cookie, cheese, thank you, all done, wa-wa (water), GG (my mom), Hi, and Bye-bye. We have a new speech therapist that comes now 2x and month. She’s wonderful. We are usually on the floor playing and saying words to try and get him to repeat. Right now we’re working on him to try and string 2 words together. So far he’s said ‘Hi, Daddy’. That’s progress! We’ll find out at his re-evaluation if he will continue for these services. I really hope he does! It’s so nice to have help with him and get some ideas on how to help him. Through this process and expert advice it’s been determined my little man is just a little behind. He didn’t crawl until he was 10 months, didn’t walk until 15 mths, so he just likes to do things on his own time 🙂
I would encourage you, that if you have any suspicion of a delay or feel like something is not right to talk to you pediatrician right away. I’m so glad I did! I had no idea these services were available to us. If you are in Texas, the ECI website is HERE. I’m sure every state has some sort of program or resources to help.If you have a gut feeling that something is not right, always trust yourself! It’s so much better to get early intervention if your child does need it. Moms know their kids best. I’m so glad I went with my gut and did not hold off getting him evaluated.