If you know of a child who is at risk for developmental delays because of a diagnosis, abuse, neglect, or premature birth, there are so many resources out there who can help.
Even if your child was JUST born.
From birth to 3 years old (some centers ’til 6), these precious kiddos have an amazing resource that is available to them called early intervention. And since Knightly was 6 weeks old, he’s been in it.
But this past week, we had to say goodbye.
We said goodbye to our second family, people who’d known Knightly since he was less than 2 months old:
Who we believe (and trust me we’re totally biased) is the BEST early intervention out there.
It’s a scary thing to hear your child was born with something that’s going to cause issues for the rest of their life. We immediately connected with Regional Center who said we HAD to contact ICEC to get on their long wait list, because they were the best. So we did.
I remember parking the car, unbuckling my little marshmallow from the car seat, and nervously walking into ICEC. What kind of people would work here? What kind of other kiddos would there be? What would these families be like? God, why did Knightly have to have Down Syndrome? Why do we have to be here?
The first person I met was this lovely lady, Pam.
She greeted us so warmly. I breathed a sigh of relief. Oh, thank God, these people were nice. We sat on a rainbow mat and started singing songs and I couldn’t believe my eyes. Here were an assortments from newborns to near one year olds with all kinds of diagnoses and abilities, families from every race and background.
And what was most amazing is I saw that same look of fear and pride and hope and vulnerability on all their faces. As we went from station to station, hoping to keep our little ones awake (oftentimes unsuccessfully),
We learned SO much (read more here on what). It was literally a Parenting 101 of how our bodies grow and develop
what are the most educational/development-helpful toys and what are the hurtful ones (for example, I was surprised to find out sippy cups were really bad for Knightly’s feeding development). Every week, we got to ask about how to feed, nurse, deal with every possible medical issue or parenting fear that is out there.
There were so many activities he absolutely loved.
And some he hated.
So many incredible memories were made and priceless picture perfect moments.
And we suddenly found a community of therapists, parents and babies that we were growing alongside together.
From field trips, weekly parent support groups, and just growing closer and being vulnerable with other parents who were on the same journey, this experience was absolutely priceless. I can’t truly describe how much it meant to us.
If you know of any child or family who are showing signs of developmental delay or are at risk for them, know that they are absolutely NOT alone. There are communities and centers like this available for all kinds of diagnoses and situations.
Early Intervention is the way to go.
so how do you find an early intervention in your area?
Check out this link for great tips on how to find early intervention where you are.
If you’re in CA, contact your local Regional Center to ask for early intervention services here.
Order from this collection of imagery based on inspiration and completely true stories of world record breakers and impossibles made possible in the world of special needs.
ALL proceeds from this gallery will go to the Intervention Center for Early Childhood (ICEC). Every day they make impossibles possible. Be inspired and give here.
Check out our past World Down Syndrome Day shoots and stories: