At first, my son Benjamin didn’t meet the 30% delay in development required for early intervention. He was born with torticollis. Because his head rested on his shoulder during my pregnancy, his head tilted slightly to the left. To correct his condition, he wore a helmet until he was 8 months old, and he received physical therapy covered by our private insurance. Now someone wouldn’t even know that he had torticollis—his head doesn’t tilt anymore!
Later, when he was 15 months old, Benjamin was diagnosed with a sensory processing disorder. I was so scared when we found out. Our doctor recommended early intervention (EI) services, but I already had health insurance; I didn’t think I needed EI services. I didn’t think I would be able to get high-quality care for my son from the government. I was pretty overwhelmed. Every day, normal things became overwhelming and very stressful for our family because Benjamin couldn’t tolerate noise or being touched. I couldn’t even change his diapers without him crying, screaming, and kicking—I was the only one who could do it because everyone else was afraid of being kicked. We couldn’t have his hair cut or brush his teeth because that required tilting his head.
We agreed to participate in EI because Benjamin needed help and so did our family. The social worker showed us the best way to handle Benjamin to avoid sensory overload and to respond to his fussiness and tantrums. I admit that at first I didn’t care for the EI therapists coming to my home, but then I realized how helpful it was. The fact that the therapists came to the house was a big help because it often took an hour just to get Benjamin ready to go to his doctor’s appointment. We didn’t have to worry about leaving home since the therapists came to us. I built such a relationship with these women—they are wonderful at what they do. I had met other parents at a clinic before we started EI, and, like me, they weren’t sure about the idea of the therapists coming to their home. I told them about our EI experience and how these services that Benjamin received in our home were exceptional and what a difference it had made for him.
Benjamin is now 3 years old. He attends a Montessori preschool. I’m so grateful for EI—I just can’t imagine where we would be without it. Benjamin wouldn’t be as successful without the therapists he had through EI.