Beyond Early Intervention
Tomorrow is my final visit with a little girl I work with every other week at her daycare. She will be turning 3 later this month and I have worked with her for about a year now. During that time I have seen her at home and daycare and have worked closely with her mom and two different daycare teachers, as she moved to the older classroom earlier this year.
I really enjoy seeing a child in both their home and daycare/school setting. I think it allows us as therapists to get a more complete picture of the child's true level of functioning. Many times I see a child behave and perform one way at home and a very different way in a daycare/classroom setting, as is the case of this little girl.
According to both mom and her teacher, the child performs much better at school, especially during the structured times of the day. Her mother reports that there is frequent "drama" and poor behavior at home. This is usually not the case at school and even when there are issues, she is easily redirected. The general feeling is that she benefits from the structure daycare provides and falls apart at home where less structure exists.
When I am at the daycare, I often see her during circle and lunch time. She does beautifully. She stays in her chair, answers questions, sings along with the class and follows the lesson easily. During lunch, she feeds herself and is now starting to verbally interact with the other children. This is such a wonderful milestone considering that her social skills have been one of the main concerns, especially during unstructured times such as free play. As her third birthday draws closer, even some of her more stubborn weaknesses seem to be strengthening.
I often wonder what will happen to a child like this after they move on from early intervention. If everything the family is reporting is true, this child is really struggling at home. According to the parents, all activities are a challenge: mealtime, any transition, trips to the supermarket, bedtime, down time...everything! The therapists, as well as her daycare providers, are often the ones supporting her potential and reinforcing to the family that the child has some solid skills that are age appropriate, reminding them that she is capable of success, especially in a more structured setting.
So, with our last appointment looming in the future, I hope and pray and that her future educators recognize all that she is capable of and that her success continues beyond early intervention.