Alex was referred for an early intervention evaluation just before his second birthday and began weekly speech therapy services with Easterseals soon after. At the start of therapy, Alex was babbling occasionally and using three signs consistently to communicate with his family. He sometimes waved goodbye and blew kisses to his mom and dad. His eye contact and attention were on target for his age, but he was not yet following one-step directions or identifying objects and people. His parents were also concerned that he was not yet imitating or independently producing sounds or words.
The first 6 months of Alex’s speech therapy services focused on coaching his parents in utilizing language strategies to support his communication development. The speech therapist and the family worked together to embed these strategies into the family’s daily routines (play time, bath time, snack time, etc.). Alex’s parents were committed to using tried and true strategies, implementing new strategies, and giving specific feedback to his therapist at her weekly visit on how Alex responded.
As a result of their dedication and hard work, Alex’s communication skills are flourishing! He consistently follows one-step directions and identifies objects and people. He appropriately imitates words with a variety of sounds and syllable structures. In order to communicate with his parents and older sisters, Alex uses 30-35 words independently to comment, protest, question, respond and command. His parents are thrilled to hear him using his voice to express himself, and their excitement grows weekly as Alex adds new words to his growing vocabulary. The day Alex began using his sisters’ names to get their attention was an especially memorable milestone for the family.
Along with his communication skills, Alex’s personality is developing and showing itself more each day. He loves to laugh, play pretend with horses, chase after his sisters, wear any adult’s shoes, watch trucks go by outside the window, be picked up and spun around, and build/knock down block towers. Alex’s family is thrilled with his progress and they look forward to all the growth that is to come!
Through Easterseals early intervention program, Alex is receiving the therapeutic support he needs to reach his fullest potential and his parents are receiving the support they need to make it happen. Getting the right support early is vital to a child’s development. Brain development is at its peak during the first five years of a child’s life, and identifying developmental delays and disabilities during this time is paramount in order to intervene when the most good can be done. At Easterseals, we are committed to providing the life-changing services children with disabilities and their families need in order to increase independence, maximize opportunities, minimize barriers and enhance quality of life.