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First Steps

Wednesday was the big intake interview with First Steps, Kentucky’s early intervention systems for children under three who need help to develop properly and be ready for school.

I self-referred based on my pediatrican’s advice and because Simon is now 18 months old and can’t walk on his own. Much of the interview was pretty straightforward, but there were a few surprises along the way.

First, our intake coordinator was extremely careful in her language. As Matt and I do not have the same last name, she referred to him simply as “Simon’s father” throughout the first half of our interview. In fact, for quite some time she didn’t realize he lived in the house with us. I didn’t realize this until she asked, “Does Simon’s father live here, too?” Once I understood what was going on, I casually dropped in the words “husband” and “mother-in-law” wherever possible to tip her off. I suspect this will be the first of many times our differing last names raise questions about our family’s status, but I suspect few will be as neutral and professional as this woman was.

Second, I was surprised to find myself at a loss for words a few times. When it came to describing Simon’s daily activities and all his abilities, I was my usual voluble self. But then Sheila (the coordinator) would throw a curve ball my way:

Q: “What daily activities does Simon’s delay prevent you from doing?”

A: “Um…. Well, none really. I just have to carry, push or help him walk everywhere. It’s just harder I suppose.”

Q: “What are your goals for Simon in the next six months?

A: “Um… walking?” Seriously, I haven’t thought six months ahead. I eventually, lamely, came up with “Walking, running, a little climbing, and whatever your physical therapists deem appropriate for a two-year-old.”

Q: “What activities does Simon not enjoy?”

A. “Um…We don’t really do things he doesn’t enjoy. Diaper changes maybe? Getting his face cleaned? Going down the slide if he’s not in the mood? Sitting in the stroller if he’d rather play?” It’s not like I’m forcing to take piano lessons, he hates math class, or he argues with me about cleaning up his room. I was grasping at straws here.

Last but not least, I was surprised by the complexity of the program. I knew there was a call, then an intake appointment, and then an assessment. But I thought once those three hoops were jumped through, they sent in the experts. Not so fast. You have the call. Then the intake appointment. Then the assessment. Then I’m referred to a primary service coordinator (today I met with an initial service coordinator). Then I attend an IFSP meeting with my entire IFSP team (I somehow missed what the acronym stands for) to review Simon’s proposed course of treatment. Then there’s an opportunity for me to accept, reject, or change this plan, possibly by working with a parent consultant. And then actual therapy begins.

Start to finish, from first phone call to first appointment with a therapist, I’m looking at 45 days.

It will surely be interesting to see where Simon is by this point.

One Response to “First Steps”

  1. bethnbobinnc says:

    IFSP stands for “Individual Family Service Plan” where I come from. I’ll bet he’s walking before you finish the plan! Good Luck. :)

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