Posted in autism, family, momlife, motherhood, parenting

Parent Advocate

When we become parents, our roles as individuals shift. We no longer solely focus on ourselves; instead most of our efforts go towards our children. We feed them, change them, teach them, support them, love them. You are the one who shapes your child’s life the most; yet we cannot be with our children 24 hours a day. Do our parental duties end at our front door? What more can we do for them outside of our own homes? The main portion of our parental duties is 1 on 1, but what if we could push it farther than that? How can we reach our maximum level of parent? Well, we can move from a support role to an advocate role. 

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I wish they did it like this..” or “Why don’t they do this?” If there is something out there that you think could not only benefit your own child more, but others as well, what’s holding you back from trying to make it happen? Our parenting duties are not confined to our houses. 

There are so many ways that we, as parents, can advocate for our children. Now I cannot attest to each individual state and their own unique opportunities, but I can tell you about what I am learning within Michigan. 

I was recently contacted to be a parent representative for the Michigan Home Visiting Network (HVN). This program supports all state funded home visiting programs, and has a growing coalition to help families across Michigan. HVN brings together hospitals, clinics, tribal health systems, health departments, mental health agencies, early childhood educators, home visitors, and most importantly, parents together to improve outcomes for all mothers and babies in Michigan. Our main objective is to team up and put our different ideas and experiences together to increase the involvement and satisfaction of these programs. 

I attended a training with other parents and state workers from all over the state of Michigan to learn about this program and what our roles are going to be. This is not only a new thing for me, this is an entirely new program to the state of Michigan also! 

One of the main focuses on this training was instilling the notion that we are not “just parents”, but rather that we are parent leaders. We were all there because we wanted to take the initiative to make things better for our children, our families, and our communities. We discussed our individual strengths and characteristics that made us leaders as well as our personal experiences of being an influential parent. Now listen, I’m never going to say that I am a great inspirational parent. In fact, I usually ride the mediocrity line when it comes to parenting. However, the training we went to made me realize that you don’t need to be the best to be able to help others. Given the right tools and resources, we are all able to invoke real change.

One of our exercises was to make a Pi symbol on our paper and write ways that we are parent leaders across the top, write some of our personal characteristics that help us be great parent leaders on the left, and things we could improve on to be better parent leaders on the right side. There is no set of characteristics or past experiences that can make someone a great parent advocate. If you have a child in your life that you care about and you want better for them…that is all you need. Not only was this a great exercise pertaining to the HVN program and our actual training but this was also a great personal exercise. What makes ME GREAT??

Take some time out of your day and look into what you can do for your family. What changes would you like to see? There are opportunities out there, you just have to summon up the drive to find them!  I will get some resources together to help people find advocating opportunities that would work for them, whether its with the health department, school system, or even your child’s daycare! Let me see what we can find and make our communities better for as many people as we can!

If you would like any information about the Michigan Home Visiting Network or their parent representative programs please do not hesitate to reach out to my team advisor- Jamie Rushford- jrushford@lmasdhd.org

Posted in autism, parenting, speech therapy

Unintentional Learning Tools

We watch a lot of tv for a family with no cable. We’re too broke to pay ridiculous monthly payments with Direct Tv. The first 12 months are great but when your incentive period is over BAM! Your bill goes from $75/ mo to $200/mo How? Why? More importantly..for what? I watch HGTV, ABC, and E! My kids watch Disney Junior and Nickelodeon. And you want me to pay how much for 5 channels? Hard Pass.

In the age of Wifi and Smart Tvs we’ve moved on to a trifecta of internet streaming: Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. There are always new things added each month and Hulu posts tv episodes the day after they premier on tv. (Disclaimer: this is not an ad for any of these services, I do not have nearly the amount of viewers to make that happen..) Anyway, most of the time we end up watching the same shows over and over and over and over and over again. But nobody complains because all of us parents know that children are creatures of habits. They LIKE to watch the same thing over again so it really works out, except when they take off one of your kid’s favorite movies (R.I.P. Trolls on Netflix) The magical thing about this (and the reason for this blog) is my daughter Camille watches the same shows over and over again..she is learning to talk.

I am talking ALL DAY LONG to my daughter. You want a DRINK? You want MORE? MAMA. HELP. EAT. UP. DOWN. PLAY. BALL. BED. —Nothing. Then we turn on Finding Nemo and this little girl has the audacity to yell out BRUCE during the sharks little AA meeting scene. I popped my head out from around the corner like…..wut.

After that, I started watching her watching shows. Then I started recording. She knows so many lines to her shows. She repeats the lines at the exact time at they’re said, she has the correct pitches, correct sound, knows what lines are coming next. Sure, she doesn’t actually say the correct words, but it’s amazing nonetheless. She even started singing the songs. SHE SINGS SONGS! 

There is no better learning tool than face to face interaction. However, let’s be honest.. if your plan A doesn’t work, what do you do? Move on to plan B. This doesn’t mean I’m throwing out all my other tactics. I’m fusing them together. Something I’m doing (which let’s be honest I’ve always done) is using lines from Disney movies in real life to see if she will still get the connection. I downloaded all the songs from her favorite movies onto my phone and play them in the car to see if she will sing along. I am making this house a round-the-clock Disney movie. If Disney is what gets this girl talking then damnit, just call me Rapunzel.  

We’ve tried sign language, pecs picture cards, withholding things until she makes an effort to communicate. Everything we have tried so far hasn’t really had long lasting results. Then with no prompts, she recites and sings Disney movies and it’s honestly beautiful. Tonight as I crack open a Sunday night White Claw, I toast to you, Walt Disney.

“Word Party” on Netflix
Rapunzel- I see the Light
Word Party
Let it Go- Frozen
Posted in depression, family, momlife, motherhood

Depression, Medication, and Nose jobs- Oh my!

You get to a point in your life where you need to step up and take control of everything that’s bothering you. 

I have been on antidepressants since I had my daughter in 2017. It has been a great thing for me. My depression started around the time I had my son 6 years ago. In retrospect, it probably started as post-partum depression that I never recognized. I had a new baby, I was recently married, and moved across the country to have my family all together. The depression I didn’t recognize, plus all of these other changes, really made me feel isolated. Despite the fact that I had my new family, we lived closer to my in-laws, and I made some of the best friends I’ve ever had (that I am still great friends with to this day) my outlook on life weighed heavy on me. By the time my daughter was born I finally broke through my fear of expressing my feelings and spoke up. I just finally realized it’s OK to tell people how you’re really feeling. It’s OK to ask for help. It’s OK to get on medication. After two years on my medication, my depression is controlled and I am back in love with my life. I appreciate all that I have, I strive to see the positive in situations, I have reasons to get out of bed in the morning. Sure, I still have bad days, but that’s just life!

Since starting my depression medication, although it makes me feel 100X better, It did start to hold me back a little, physically. My mind was great, but my body was sluggish. I could barely make it through the day without taking a nap, or laying down. My mind wanted to go out and do fun things with my kids, but my body was like “eh….” I started to gain weight. A lot of weight. So I started doing fresh smoothies in lieu of breakfast. My husband taught me how to work out in a gym (don’t judge me, these new machines are confusing.) Everything I was trying was not working. After being in a wedding this summer and seeing myself in that dress, I said ok enough is enough. What I’m doing is not working, my body is working against me, I need help. I went to the doctor, got a physical, full blood work, discussed all of our options and decided the best course of action was to take a stimulant medication. This medication is designed to increase energy levels while decreasing appetite. Let me tell you….WOW. I see such a difference in myself in this week and a half that I’ve been on it. I have energy that I haven’t had in years. I’m getting things done whereas before, I would procrastinate everything or just simply not do it. For example… I now put away the laundry as soon as I take it out of the dryer! THE MADDNESS! For this medication to really have a long-lasting effect, you really need to take this opportunity to create healthy habits, so that when you stop the medication you can still lose weight. I have started working out every morning and having fruit and spinach smoothies for breakfast, and keep myself moving throughout the day. I am actively trying to get myself into a healthy routine. I’m able to be more interactive with my kids, my house has never been cleaner, and I just overall, fell SO MUCH BETTER!!

Now that I have my mind in a better place and am working on getting my body back, there is only one more thing that I have put off for far too long. My damn nose. Unbeknownst to me, I am a loud and viscous snorer. …Who knew? I have thought for a long time (before my husband called me out for snoring) that my  breathing wasn’t as good as it should have been. I remember back in middle or high school that I noticed that I was only breathing out of one nostril sometimes. This sticks in my mind because I remember wondering if everyone only breathed out of one nostril, like maybe each nostril takes turns…. I know, I know… In the past few years I noticed my nostril airflow was getting worse. I don’t feel congested, imagine feeling like your airway is just too small to get enough air into it. I finally went to see an ENT doctor. After getting a 12” camera up my nose, we discover that my septum is severely deviated. In his words “almost completely plastered to the other side of my nose. I am set to get a septoplasty next month and I CANNOT WAIT. I’m not even thinking about the actual procedure, the feeling of being able to breathe again is all I can picture.

I turned 30 years old this summer, it is time to take back control over my life. I always used to keep everything to myself. I am definitely a keep-it-to-yourself type of person. When you finally become comfortable enough with yourself to ask others for help, your life will blossom. I want to be the best version of me that I can be, not only for myself, but for my kids too.  am so excited to see what my life will look like 6 months from now. 

Posted in family, momlife, motherhood

DIY Mario Bedroom

August is bringing a lot of changes! We moved houses, my mom is getting married, my husband is coming to visit! Not to mention, that in a few weeks my son will start 1st grade!!! Not only does all of this stress me out, but it can also be difficult on my children. Nobody is good with change, but us adults understand it at least, the same cannot be said for a 2 and 6 year old.

One thing I wanted to do to help my 6 year old to accept and enjoy some of these changes was to give him a room that he will LOVE! After many hours on Pinterest, I settled on a Mario Bros themed room. He has been really into Super Mario Maker and is actually saving up money to buy the new version. I knew this was the perfect choice.

I’m not a very crafty person….at all. My handwriting sucks, I can’t draw, even my straight lines could use work. But I figured….will my 6 year old REALLY KNOW if something isn’t exactly like I saw it on Pinterest? As long as I made it somewhere in the ballpark I knew it would be a hit. So I created my Pinterest board and went on my way!

Mystery Box Cabinet

What you need:
Cabinet (or whatever you’d like to turn into a mystery box… be creative!)
Yellow Spray Paint
Cut out a stencil of a Mystery Box
White paint
Sponge Brush

Clear coat spray paint
* you could very well use white spray paint if you prefer, I would just tape off so the paint doesn’t get outside of the stencil, and don’t spray too closely (if the spray paint drips its hard to clean it up for a clean finish)

I took an old white 2 shelf cabinet that we had in our old play room and cleaned it up (it did not need sanding but you do want to make sure you’re working with a smooth surface!) Paint the whole cabinet in a bright yellow. Let it dry, then cover with a clear top coat. Once it is dry, you will want to evenly fill in the stencil on every side. I chose a 2-story cabinet so I decide to make two levels of Mystery Blocks. Once white paint has dried, I spray it with another layer of top cover

Pipes

What you need:
Tall, circular garbage can, lid discarded
Different sized curved PVC pipes
Green spray paint
L brackets
Hinge brackets
Command Hooks

Gorilla glue

This idea started out very simple. Use one of my old tall circular kitchen garbage cans , paint it green and VOILA! A life-size Mario Pipe that doubles as a laundry hamper! the wall decoration pipes were a little trickier. After spray painting them (the most important, and easiest part) I had to figure out how to attach them to the wall. If this was my own house and not a rental I honestly probably would have just glued them to the wall. Since that was not an option for me… The large size pipe, I was able to use Gorilla Glue to secure an L shaped bracket going from in inside top of the pipe down the open end of the pipe. Because attaching it this way effectively hides the bracket, I attached only the sticky strip of a command hook to the exposed leg of the bracket and stuck it on the wall. Those command hooks hold everything. The smaller PVC pipes were too small for L brackets because they curve more than the larger size. This is where the small hinge brackets come on. Attach the same way at the L brackets. One side is glued along the top inside of the pipe end, and the other end of the bracket hangs down at a 90* angle down the open end of the pipe. I then used command strips to secure the bracket end to the wall. The remaining pipes that I painted, but didn’t want to hang, were scattered around the room for decoration.

Brick Cabinet Doors

What you need:
Bright Red spray paint
Burgundy Spray paint

Clear coat spray paint
Painters tape
* As my son so lovingly pointed out, the bricks in most Mario worlds is more brown than red. If you’d like more accurate colors, I’d go for a brown and tan. However my son’s 2 favorite colors are blue and red so I needed to switch it up.

once you remove the doors (or get whatever you are painting) make sure the area is cleaned and smooth. I spray painted the whole thing in a bright red. Let it dry then cover in a top coat. Once the top coat is dry you begin to lay your tape. Lay horizontal lines of tape across the width of the cabinet doors evenly down the length of the door. Once all of the horizontal lines are laid you will want to put down vertical lines. Try to space them out so they start to look like bricks. once you have placed all of your vertical lines it is time to spray again. Cover the whole door in the Burgundy spray paint. Let the paint dry slightly. When the paint is still tacky remove the painters tape. PRESTO! you have bricks. Once again, cover in a top coat, let dry, then reattach to wall.

Coins

What you need:
Coin Image
string
tape
Cardstock paper

This was a last minute project for me. I found some great google images of different styles of Mario coins. I took the pixelated coins, placed 4 large *and even* coins into a word document and printed 2 sheets onto contact paper. Once printed I cut out all 8 coins, glued them back to back. I poked a hole through the top of each newly double sided coins and weaved and tied a long string through each hole. Once each coin was secured onto the string, I attached it above my sons bed with only a piece of scotch tape. Of course, use anything you wish to attach it to the ceiling. Next I printed the basic looking coin. I found a black and white version of the coin and printed it on bright yellow/gold cardstock paper (same as the other coins- 4 large and even coins on a page X2). These coins, Since I was taping to the wall, they did not need to be double sided. Cut out coins and adhere scatterly as desired.

Pixelated Mario Wall Art

What you need:
pennies
super glue
poster board
finger paints (red, blue, brown, black)
frame, optional
*this design is not hung up in my son’s room yet. I am still working on something to frame the art. I will probably need to custom order a frame. The design is larger and more oblong than an 8X10

I actually found this design online. First you will want to paint your pennies.
Red- 38
Blue- 32
Brown- 23
Black- 6
Natural- 44
Once the pennies are painting and completely dry, lay them out in the pattern below. Once you can them all laid out, pick them up one by one, glue the back, and put back down in place and hold for a few seconds. Move through all of the pennies until they are all glued into place. Let them dry COMPLETELY and try to avoid bending the poster board that they are on. Once the project is complete you are ready to frame and hang!

Those are about all the major DIY’s that I did for this room. As you can see from the room photos, I also ordered Mario wall decals from Amazon. Find the ones I ordered here.

Posted in momlife

Finding Financial Independence

Whenever somebody asks how I’m doing these days I always give them the classic-
“…Just living the dream” answer. Of course we all know that saying is complete bullshit. Do you really want to know how I’m doing Brenda? I’m tired, my back hurts, my children are animals, I am drowning in debt/laundry and I’m broker than all get out. 

Our family is a single income household. My husband is the sole provider for our family. I am merely the dependa. (If you’re unaware of this title, google is your friend.) Is our family dynamic by choice? Kind of…..but also kind of not. There are many reasons why I don’t, or am unable, to work. Excuses, excuses, excuses! I know, just save your judgements for the end of the blog, ok?

Any of my working parents out there can attest to the outrageous price of childcare. Now before I discuss this further, just know that this isn’t a slam against daycare providers, at all. It’s all about the numbers, baby. They need to pay staff, pay rent, insurance, supplies. I get it. 100%. However, for two children, good affordable childcare is out of reach. If I get a full time job, my paycheck would basically pay for childcare with no room for much else. 

There are definitely some income eligible options out there.  Our town has a great Head-start program for those who meet the qualifications. The wait list is long, however, and often unobtainable. For the first time ever, I was told my family makes too much money to qualify. Let’s all laugh about that together. Now… I’m not blind, I know that there are many families out there that are in worse financial situations than myself. They should get help before me, I know that. But, a lot of families out there find themselves in the same situation as me… too broke for private daycares, yet too “rich” for federally funded free daycare. My only way out, is to find a job that pays more than the cost of daycare. In a small town, that can be hard to come by. There is still the difficult conundrum much like the chicken and the egg. Which do you get first? The job or the daycare? You either scrape the money together to cover daycare until you find a job, or you get a job and have to scrounge up babysitters until you can get into daycare. 

Moving on. If you’ve read my past blogs or know me personally, then you are already aware that I have children who require therapy. My oldest is now in school, so his therapies are during school hours (for the most part.) My youngest, however, does speech once a week. I would like to get her into ABA (applied behavior analysis) therapy. BUTTTTTT, if you’re unfamiliar with that- it is a very intensive, time-consuming in-home therapy. So, do I sacrifice having a career, financial independence, and a life outside of my children by helping her develop, grow, and learn in an in-home therapy that could ultimately help her the most. Or do I put my financial situation first, and hope that a daycare environment will be enough to teach her all the things she needs to learn? 

I have so much hesitation and “rock and a hard place” decisions to work through when it comes to me working. I am constantly stuck between putting my children first, and needing to help my husband support this family. Don’t get me wrong, the military pay is decent. For a family of four, though, it just aint cutting it. My husband does not get the credit he deserves for how hard he works and financially supporting his wife and two children. I want to have the chance to get out there and take some of the weight off his shoulders.

Before I got married I worked and supported myself. Ok… I mean fine, I was on my parents cell phone plan longer than I probably should have and my dad paid my car insurance basically until I got married. BUT YOU GET THE PICTURE. At one point in my earlier days I was working two jobs and going to college… LIKE A BOSS. Yet, here I am, 10 years later, relying on someone else to pay my bills and give me lunch money. I am 30. Years. Old. It is time for me to get out there and regain my independence. Financially, emotionally, physically. My depression and anxiety constantly tell me, “but if you get your independence, you’re a shit mom for throwing your kids needs on the back burner.” I know this isn’t true, that’s the dark beauty of depression folks. On the flip side, when I tell myself I’m doing the right thing by staying home with my kids and working on getting them the help that they need, that dark beauty comes back and says, “Nah girl, you’re a piece of crap because you’re broke and have nothing in your life for yourself. You need to start making money for yourself!” This inner voice contradicts everything I try to do. No matter which decision I make, my depression always tells me that I’m wrong. It is a constant battle that I have with myself. 

I try different things to balance it all out. I became a consultant for Usborne Books & More. I work from home, throw parties online where people buy the children’s books (which I honestly love, and that is NO LIE, these books are adorable.) Some women make a full time living off of it. It helps me, but does not cover true expenses, for me it’s more play money.  I’ve done a lot of surveys online with Swagbucks. Again, just play money. I most recently got approved to start doing closed captioning work online. This I’m sure will be, again, play money. None of these at- home solutions have turned out to be a long term fix. 

It’s time to break through my inner voice and finally do something. I KNOW I will not be a bad mom for working out a daycare/job situation and start putting myself first. I KNOW that I am not a loser for not working. I need to stop letting myself feel guilty for these decisions I need to make, not only for myself, but my husband and my children. No matter which solution I pick, I know that it will be what is right for our family.

Posted in family, momlife, motherhood, parenting, Uncategorized

Dead Ends.

So I’ve discussed my struggles with my daughter Camille. One issue that has been confusing, is for a while is her inability to climb. It took her a while to climb anything (onto furniture, up the stairs, etc) even after she figured how to get up she could not get down. Even small things like a 12” tall toddler bed, or stepping off a 4” tall treadmill platform. Whenever she is at the top of something (bed, top of stairs, couch, etc) she would throw something off and watch it fall. Which to me, looked like she was dropping them off to see how long it took them to reach the floor. Until she got used to them, she was hesitant crossing different floor types. She wouldn’t walk from our kitchen to our living room because she wouldn’t step across the different floor types. She used to stand and cry in one room until someone picked her up and set her down in the next room. We were standing in our school gym once and she wouldn’t walk across the basketball lines. One day we were in a garage and she wanted to walk outside and there was maybe a two inch lip from the inside to the outside. She had to get on her hands and knees and crawl out; when she very easily could have walked out. Her team of therapists (and me) thought she had some sort of vision issues, specifically maybe depth perception. It made a lot of sense.

So i scheduled her an eye appt with a pediatric ophthalmologist. I was dreading the appt, but also excited at the same time. I was nervous because how in the hell were these people going to get her to sit for an eye appt?? she’s clearly not going to look into the lenses and say which number looks better. Is it better at 1…or better at 2? 2 or 3? Not to mention the whole eye blowing machine that makes even my buttcrack sweat waiting for it. 

Nonetheless, the day came and we walked into the office of the unknown. The staff was incredible!!! We got our own waiting room with a movie and toys! I strategically got some breakfast on our way so she could occupy her mind and stomach while we waited. The first thing up was dilating her eyes. We went into a room with a tech and I had to lay her down on my lap, face up. I basically had to pin her down while the tech opened her eyes and put a drop in each. As you can imagine there was a lot of wriggling and screaming but this process lasted about a min and we were sent back to the waiting room while her eyes dilated all the way. A little fun fact, children’s eyes take longer to dilate than adults. Additionally, brown eyes also take longer to dilate than other eye colors. So since Camille has both of those characteristics it took about 20-25 minute for her eyes to dilate completely. When she was finished we went in the room with the doctor.

This was probably the easiest eye appt I’ve ever seen. I sat in the chair with her on my lap. The doctor held up a spinny/light-up toy in front of Camille to keep her eyes focused. He looked in each eye with a handheld lens. He then took a flashlight and shined it in her eyes while also distracted. And That was that!

Despite the surprisingly easy appointment, the results were lackluster. The good news is, there is nothing wrong with her eyes. The back news is, we still don’t know why she’s doing her goofy little things! The ophthalmologist said her optic nerve is intact and her far vision looked perfect. I mentioned she was being observed for autism and he said it definitely could just be a little quirk of hers that could be related to autism. He basically told me to ignore it and it will go away. It’s always reassuring to know that your kids are healthy. But why do I feel disappointed? I think my mind set was on there being something wrong with her eyes. We’ll get her glasses and she will start blossoming! Maybe she’ll start playing with baby toys, walking better, signing better, climbing better. Now that the glasses are out of the picture, I’m back to square one trying to get her to reach new milestones. 

All I can do is help her the best I can and wait. Only time will tell. Next month Camille has her two year doctor appt and her official medical autism evaluation! So despite hitting a dead end on this, we have many more paths to take with my sweet sweet girl!!!

Posted in family, momlife, motherhood, parenting, Uncategorized

When to seek early intervention

Let me begin with a disclaimer. I am NOT an expert, I did not go to school for speech and language pathology, I am not working in the field in any way. I am simply a mother of two children with speech and language delays who has been through this and has done her research. I hope after reading this, if you feel concerns with the children in your life, that you will do your own research and seek the services available to you. I will attach links at the bottom where I got my information!

What is the difference between speech and language?

Language is the entire system of words and symbols (including written, spoken, or expressed through gestures and body language).
Speech is the actual sound of spoken language, including articulation of words/sounds. 

Since there is a clear difference between speech and language it is important to know that there is a difference between a speech delay and a language delay. 

[Examples]
Language delay Child may not be communicating (whether its via talking, sign language, gestures, etc) the way they should be at their age.
Speech delay Child may use words and phrases but is difficult to understand

All that being said, when should we start to notice if our child has a speech or language delay?

Before 12 months– Babies should begin cooing and babbling. By 9 months babies should be putting sounds together, using different tones, and say simple words like “mama” and “dada”. Lastly, before their first birthday, babies should pay attention to sounds and recognize the name to common objects (bottle, pacifier, mom, dad, etc).

12-15 months– Babbling at this age should have a range of speech sounds in their babbling (examples being P, B, M, D, N, etc), they should start imitating sounds and words, say one or more words, and follow one step directions (example- pick up the toy).

18-24 months– Most toddlers in this age group can say around 20 words by 18 months and at least 50 by 24 months. They should begin combining 2 or more words to make short sentences (Mama come, dad help, etc). Should be able to identify common objects and body parts when asked. By age two, children should start to follow two-step commands (pick it up and give it to mom.)

2-3 years– Over this year, most children have at least 200 words in their vocabulary (and as high as 1000 words!), begin to use 2-3 word sentences, say their name, use their personal pronouns (I, me, my, mine), and can be clearly understood by close family and friends. 

At this point it is important to know, (and I’ve said this before), EVERY CHILD IS DIFFERENT. The data above are of the average development for children in those age groups. Maybe your child hasn’t met one of the guidelines for his/her age group, that’s OK! It doesn’t necessarily mean that something is wrong. You may see that in a few more months they have caught themselves up and are blossoming! On the flipside, they are also made so you can know when your child is not blossoming. 

If your child is not meeting these developmental guidelines it is important to take action into your own hands rather than waiting for someone else to do something about it. I self-referred both my children to state programs. You don’t have to wait for a doctor to bring it up to you. Don’t be afraid to speak up. I know personally that it can be very scary when your child isn’t developing the way they should be and that it can be easy to overlook that there is an issue at all. However, it is our duty as parents to do everything we can to make sure out children grow and learn the way they should be. 

Each state has their own federally mandated, state funded early intervention program, including Puerto Rico, Guam, US Virgin Islands, Commonwealth of Northern Marianna Islands, and American Samoa. Follow this LINK to find the contact number for your state. These programs have been a lifesaver for my family. Now, I am not familiar with each specific state’s program, but they are all completely FREE and work with children from birth-3 years. After the age of 3, children receive free benefits from their local school systems. If your child is in school, they will receive services during the school day, if your child is between age 3-5 and not yet in school, they can still receive free services at the school or, in some places, they may receive school services at their daycare/head start (if enrolled). 

I hope that some of this helped someone out there! 

https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/not-talk.html

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/language-development/art-20045163