We had Sheridan's 18-month IFSP a couple weeks back. Funny thing is that I typically spend a TON of time getting ready for it, prepping, etc. and this time I simply put our list of goals together for each area of development we're working on and that was it. I always share his goals a couple weeks in advance with his therapists so that we can develop his final IFSP goals together - and I always send them to his service coordinator, too, so they become an official part of our IFSP. It's an approach that works well because then the service providers know what we are prioritizing, they can talk to us about what modifications we might want to consider to his goals, etc.
We weren't looking to add any new therapies (he already has everything he needs between our regional center and private pay services - a.k.a. music therapy). It was actually a relaxed, fine meeting. I did request that the regional center cover a therapy that we are private paying for (the law changed in August 2009 and music therapy is no longer covered except under special circumstances - we believe that Sheridan's group music sessions are critical to his social-emotional development... they are truly the one thing that is making a difference in Sheridan's ability to interact and be around other children). This brought me to tears y'all - Sheridan has come a long way, but still has a LOOOOOOONG way to go. This is critically important to his development... right now we're focused on preschool in 17 months and he's building the skills he needs to be able to participate fully in preschool and other activities with his peers.
We knew our request would be denied - indeed, we heard back from the regional center supervisors that they would not cover it because it is an "experimental therapy" and as such we had no recourse (we cannot appeal the decision and take it to due process. We knew this would happen, but we felt it was important to send the message that this is a valuable service. And I'm not exaggerating here, folks... our weekly group music sessions have truly been the key to helping Sheridan work on being around other kids.
A few weeks ago Sheridan was fitted for SureSteps.
Different people have different philosophies about using orthotics, but here's where we are:
- all babies/toddlers develop (standing and walking) with overpronation; it typically peaks around 3 years of age and then they develop out of it and have normal pronation
- children with low tone and/or lax ligaments (obviously, that includes children with Ds) might not peak until (much) later; also, they might not "come out of it" without assistance
- notice I said "might not" - not that they "will not" :)
- if a child develops a problem with overpronation, it requires correction
- if, however, a child uses orthotics you can do a great deal to prevent the later overpronation issues (and, after talking with Sheridan's PT about this, she said it is easier to prevent these problems than try to fix them later)
- so, even though there is no certainty that Sheridan would develop overpronation issues, we decided we would use SureSteps to prevent a potential issues rather than risking being in a situation to have to fix it
- my only worry was whether or not he would become dependent on them - every PT I've talked to about them said that children typically don't have issues transitioning out of them
The Big 2
Although my and Gary's birthdays are coming up first, I'm already focused on Sheridan's in August. LOL. Not that I'm planning some major toddler extravaganza :) it's just that I know the last couple weeks of August are busy for so many families. Summer days and weekends fill up fast. And then families turn their attention to getting ready for school or the last summer vacation. So, I'm trying to at least get a sense of what I'm planning (which I'm sooooo close on!) - and more importantly the date - so I can ask Sheridan's buddies to save the date. You know who you are :)