ECI has helped our family loads! Our daughter was born at 29 weeks and spent 2months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. When she came home we were acutely aware of the potential for delays. An initial ECI evaluation was set up for us prior to her NICU graduation. She didn’t have a need for services at that time. As she started crawling / walking it became obvious she was favoring one side.
I called ECI and “self-referred.” Whitney was in the program and seeing a PT weekly within weeks. Her PT was amazing and helped us see all the opportunities around the house we could utilize to challenge Whitney. Some of it felt like “duh” but we would have never arrived at it on our own. When we started to see delays / have concerns with Clayton I knew who to call. Clayton was almost 2 years old and had no desire to walk. Again, ECI evaluated and had him in therapy within a matter of weeks. If Clayton wasn’t walking by the time preschool started he couldn’t be in an age-appropriate class. He had no problems meeting that! ECI showed us ways to motivate him to want to walk and within eight visits the kid was practically running.
We started to do his paperwork to end ECI and the therapist asked me if I had other concerns. We had felt Clayton’s speech was behind but those concerns were mostly brushed off as him being a boy or a second child. The ECI therapist took our concerns seriously and had a new evaluation done. It was determined that Clayton was behind and needed services for speech. We worked the program for a while and just didn’t see a lot of progress. Our therapist at the time, Courtney, told us about a program called Pathways. This opened up a whole new world for Clayton and our family! It led to us recognizing that Clayton may be on the Autism Spectrum, getting him tested, and finding ways to connect and help him. No parent wants their child to need special services but our ECI therapist, now Tasha, walked hand in hand with us as we worked this diagnosis. I often joked that Tasha came to help me just as much as Clayton!
I would tell any parent to call ECI because they have nothing to lose and everything to gain! Parenting is hard and parenting a child that isn’t meeting the milestones is even harder. You are constantly second guessing yourself, your decisions and even your child. Why wouldn’t you want to bring in someone (or a team) that cares about your child and your family success? I know there is A LOT of information out there that you can gather on your own, but what I found was trying to do that took time away from being able to enjoy and work with my son.
The approach that ECI takes of being there to help the child and family is something you can’t put a price on. Additionally, I have good private insurance and I found it just about impossible to find a place that would work with a child under 3 years old for the concerns we had for Clayton. Without ECI we would still be sitting around waiting for some professional to say, yes there might be a problem and get the ball rolling on testing etc. Instead he has had over a year and a half of early intervention. Every study you read points to how CRITICAL that is to the long-term success of children on the spectrum.
Our story is still on going with Clayton, but ECI helped us get on the best path for him.
ECI and our team also help my husband and I navigate the extremely difficult times of the initial Autism diagnosis. Tasha kept our focus on the right things, didn’t let us (me) dwell too much of the negative, and gave me the quote that I still say in my head: “It doesn’t matter what diagnosis Clayton has, what matters is that he has characteristic/behaviors that are preventing him from being successful. We need to focus on helping him with those while continuing to feed his strengths.” That sounds so small but she broke it down perfectly. I will forever be indebted to her for that!
- Jennifer, loving mother of Whitney and Clayton