Today marks the first day of our son’s Extended Early Intervention Program.
We met his Intervention Specialist and his Program Manager. The goal of today’s visit was getting the lil man comfortable with his new ‘teacher’, keeping him occupied in a contained area, and making eye contact when playing.
Normally, our son roams from room to room. He picks up a toy in one room, finds a new toy 30 seconds later, throws down the old toy, picks up the new, finds a new toy, etc. Lately, he’s also been doing this with books. He hands me or my husband a book, we may get one page in, he turns around gets a new book. He hands us that book, we read a page and the cycle continues.
It was great seeing him happily engaged. His usual demeanor is very happy. Each page or so I do get to read to him, he flaps and moves his body up and down (parents usually call this flapping “dancing”). He was “dancing” to all the toys the interventionist showed him.
The most difficult part of today’s session was his interaction. He would try to take a toy or a bean (from a sensory bowl) and leave the area and play with it by himself with his back to all of us. However, they kept wrangling him between them to make him interact and not go into ‘his own world’ which he tends to easily go into and stay in for longer periods of time.
Eye contact, which is also part of interaction, was also a challenge. The interventionist would make him look her in the eye before she would help him with a toy or show him a new toy or give him a desired object. Even if the eye contact was fleeting, she would immediately gratify his needs. He tends to notice objects and not the people attached to them. He has barreled through little kids for a coveted toy (not even noticing that there was a child attached to the toy). And that is how he had started out today’s therapy: eyes on the prize and not on the person. Hopefully that will change over time.
Although it looked like play, it must have been a lot of work for the lil man. He fell asleep on an early walk downtown. His nap ended when it usually begins!
Today made me very optimistic (well, cautiously optimistic). The therapists were very thrilled to work with such a young toddler, since he will be in the program until he is 3. Many parents start seeking out help after the age of 2 and get their children into the program around 2 1/2. So, we may have a head start.
I don’t know what my expectations are or what the future holds, but my one goal is to keep my son the happy boy he is today.