Are there other moms out there who have been blessed by Early Intervention? It's been awesome for us. We've had three different "types" of therapists over the last three years -- physical therapy (PT), speech therapy, and occupational therapy (OT).
(Occupational therapy, according to kidshealth.org, helps kids with various needs improve their cognitive, physical, sensory, and motor skills and enhance their self-esteem and sense of accomplishment. I define this because I had to ask when someone suggested it.)
In Pennsylvania, Early Intervention is a free service -- yes, free -- offered through the county that comes to your house -- yes, to your house -- to offer professional services to kids under age 3. For someone who already drives to a lot of appointments, it's life-changing. All you have to do is be home (and dressed).
EI therapists work with your life. They're in your house, so the therapist might include playing with the dog to get your kid to move around. They might include looking in your snack cabinet to get them to talk. Our therapists play in our backyard, look at our flowers, follow lil man up and down our stairs. Obviously, a kid will be most comfortable on his own turf. So the best results we've gotten have all been from familiar toys and familiar spaces. (And without me having to entertain anyone in a waiting room beforehand!)
EI works with the parent. I constantly joke to our visitors that they are really there to coach me. They aren't trying to get their little patient to make the complicated "z" sound in a single hour. They are teaching ME as the mom how to get my kid to make the complicated "z" sound over the next two weeks. They are smart enough to recognize that an hour every week or every two weeks isn't going to cut it -- you as the parent are there 24/7. So their job is to help you do what you do (parenting) in the best way possible to help your kid get more experience in overcoming whatever their difficulty is.
Since we had three different therapists (from three different providers), you might think there would be confusion. But no! Because wait, there's more! You also get a great case manager! This wonderful gal calls me to get updates on progress and comes (again, to my house) every few months to do a check-in and see what else they can offer. We set goals, and then we actually meet them! I really can't put into words the feeling when you once made a goal of your child turning their head equally on both sides to offset NICU neck and then you blink and you're checking OFF a goal that says your child is putting together 3-4 word sentences. What a change!
These therapists make me a better mom. It's idea after idea and tip after tip. On any given day, we're sitting, eating lunch, while our therapist talks casually and offers suggestions that fit the moment. "He might be having trouble feeling that in his mouth since it's room temperature, maybe add something crunchy." Boom. "That might be easier for him with increased lung capacity; why don't you get some feathers or some pom-poms and make a game of him blowing them across the table?" Boom. [Side note, funniest game over if you're willing to wipe up a lot of spittle afterwards.]
Those are just two examples of a thousand suggestions that have been game-changers for us. These awesome women have helped with a wild and amazing transformation.