Parents Speak, Part I
Over the last several weeks, I had posted a link to an Early Intervention Parent Survey which I created in order to gather useful feedback about the EI experience from a parent's perspective. As a speech therapist working in EI for more than 6 years, I wanted to hear the thoughts and perceptions of experienced parents who have welcomed therapists into their home and their child's classroom. Today, as promised, I will share some of the fascinating feedback that was gathered through this survey.
The survey questions focused on the type of therapy service(s) that were provided, when and for how long it was provided and whether or not it was helpful. In addition, it focused on both birth-to-3 and 3-to-5-year programs and asked parents to give feedback to the therapists who had worked with their child, as well as advice for parents just beginning the EI process.
Regarding the survey results, the following four main service areas were all represented: Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Special Education.
Regarding those four services, the majority of parents felt the services were beneficial to their child, although some did not, in both birth to three as well as the 3-5 program, as the survey questions differentiated between the two.
When asked: Do you feel the (birth to 3) services your child has received have been helpful? Why or why not? the following answers were offered:
- Yes. The therapists have helped my son acquire necessary skills like crawling, walking, running, grasping etc.
- Yes they were beneficial. My son was having trouble learning to speak and would just do things himself rather than communicate with words. With speech therapy/play therapy his speech started and developed wonderfully ever since.
- Very helpful. The therapists have shown me things to do that I never would have thought of on my own. My son definitely gained new skills once therapy began.
- Yes. Improved muscle tone. Provided me with training to help my child's development
- The services were very helpful, they empowered me as a parent to help my child, and helped me transition to the public school system when he turned 3.
- Yes! My daughter was diagnosed with torticollis along with misformation of her skull and early closure of one of the soft spots on her head. Physical therapy was instrumental in getting the torticollis fixed, teaching her to roll, and getting her to sit up on her own. She also received OT services to work on learning how to cross midline and working with fine motor development. The team also recommended ST, but as a SLP I took care of those needs for her.
- Yes, we receive services through EI as well as taking my daughter to feeding therapy at our local children's hospital. EI has focused on reducing her sensory issues (which has done wonders). However, neither our EI team nor the feeding therapist have every contacted each other to coordinate services or determine how to best treat the eating issues (which is why we qualified for EI), which is frustrating.
- The services that he received in birth-3 were extremely helpful. There was so much that I needed to learn about helping my son to work with his disability (paralysis from Spina Bifida) and helping him reach his milestones. Even though I already had and older child, there was so much to learn and the therapists taught him and I together every step of the way. All of his therapists were compassionate, informative, and helpful in every way.
- Yes absolutely because these therapists educated me as a parent, guided and encouraged my child and set the expectation early in her life that she needs to work for the skills she gains.
- I feel the special instruction helped my son with play skills, OT helped his sensory system, I feel that looking back the speech helped him with communicating in different ways like the PEC system and signs. It introduced me to that world which would be his way of communicating until he was 4 ½ years old.
- I feel the services were extremely helpful through EI. Although, my children still required services, I feel that EI gave them the building blocks necessary to succeed in preschool. I also feel the therapists educated my husband and myself. They helped us understand the developmental delays and gave us techniques to work with our children.
Those parents who were not 100% pleased with their birth to 3 services had this to say:
- I have mixed feelings. The "Floortime" Therapists were great even though they were not actually floortime but instead a combination of that plus ABA and other strategies. They worked hands on with my child and gave me a lot of valuable information and modeling. My son's speech therapist and occupational therapist were friendly but gave little more information than what I could find out on a pamphlet and they rarely (5 minutes total) worked directly with my son. Speech and OT disappointed!
- Yes and No. Yes, we did receive some helpful therapy, however, there were limitations that were put on his therapy and education due to the "EI" restrictions of time etc that they "claimed" to be under.
- This program is not being implemented according to regulations. Therapists are not doing their jobs, and directors will not listen to try to make therapists accountable. The directors and coordinators act like dictators, and intimidate families when they have questions about their services or see change is needed. They say no, with no IFSP team mtg.
Thank you so very much to all the parents who participated in this questionnaire.
Your honesty and constructive feedback is so valued and necessary!
Join me next Tuesday for additional results from our Early Intervention Parent Survey.