How did you first hear about ECI?
We were first introduced to ECI when our daughter graduated from the NICU after a 2 month stay. The NICU nurses and neonatologist spoke highly about the
program as a resource if we ever felt Whitney needed extra help. ECI was mentioned by several specialist we saw at Cook Children’s as a potential
resource if we ever needed it too.
What did you know or think about ECI when you first heard about it for Clayton?
When our pediatrician initially suggested we have Clayton evaluated I was honestly disappointed. I felt like why again? He is a
“term” baby and shouldn’t need help if we were “doing our job” as parents well. I was concerned that there might not be enough
resources through ECI since I had read about funding cuts. I knew that there had been numerous changes to the program since Whitney
graduated and I wasn’t sure how that would change things for our family.
Looking back, what do you wish you had known?
I wish someone would have reiterated to me that being aware there was an issue and getting Clayton help from the best resources meant
we ARE good parents. There is NO shame in getting your child help and talking about it. Putting our heads in the sand and ignoring
the issue would have been the shameful thing!
How did ECI help Clayton?
Clayton was initially referred to ECI because he wasn’t walking and showed little interest in it at 18mths. ECI helped give my
be barefoot as much as possible, that wasn’t the case for Clayton. He had weak ankles and needed support from shoes. Little changes
like that made a big difference. He started walking unassisted within 2 months of starting weekly therapy. Since then we have
transitioned to play / speech therapy. These sessions have helped Clayton move from little to no communication besides crying at us
to more purposeful and direct communication. We are saying a handful of words and not melting down nearly as much.
How did ECI help/support you and your family?
ECI has been a valuable resource for my entire family. Some of the things we were told were “duh” moments but I wouldn’t have thought of
them on my own. For example, place his toys off the ground so he has to stand up to get them. I appreciate how the ECI therapist are
willing to work with everyone involved in Clayton’s care. My parents watch him 3 days a week and he goes to a Mother’s Day Out Program
too. ECI has had sessions with both and is always willing to answer their questions. This team approach directly contributed to
Clayton’s success at the MDO program and allows his grandparents to take an active role in his growth. For me, having Courtney as a
resource to bounce ideas off of and discuss the everyday trials and tribulations of being a parent has kept me sane when society makes me
feel bad about Clayton being “behind.”
Why do you think ECI works?
ECI works because it is set up as an entire team approach. You and your child are going to get out of it what you put into it. The
therapist are willing to meet at your house, school, even a playground! Whatever it takes to help make your child successful.
Having Courtney come into our home and show me ideas with Clayton’s own things makes it easy to incorporate her suggestions into our
everyday routine. It was the same way at the MDO program.
What would you tell someone who hasn’t heard about ECI and has a concern about their baby?
CALL! It never hurts to get an idea of what areas your child may need help in as well as areas they are excelling in. At best you
find out your concerns were nothing to be anxious about; at second best you get your child the help they need to be successful. ECI
makes it easy to get help for your child no matter how much or little money you make, your insurance, or location.