The day you get the call your child is coming home from the NICU is one of the best feelings in the world. Then the emotions and realizations set in that my child is coming home, with monitors and cords galore as well as oxygen tanks, and we aren’t near ready.
We were home for a few days when we got the next phone call stating they would like to offer therapy services to our daughter through Help me Grow. My first thoughts were, “Therapy? Are you crazy?” But as time passed, I realized she definitely needed it.
Kendall has been going through therapy since she has been home from the hospital. At first they would work little things, like movement and turning her head towards sound. We eventually worked our way up to talking, eating, running. Once she hit age three, she graduated from physical therapy and was about to start early preschool. When she entered preschool, she was also given therapy in three forms: occupational, speech, and physical therapy.
In the beginning it was overwhelming, and I wasn’t sure what to think. Did my daughter really need therapy? Was she really that far behind? Will the kids make fun of her? As parents we are taught to protect our kids in every way possible. I wanted the best for her, but was therapy really necessary?
Kendall went to therapy several times a week during school hours. She had three separate therapists that worked with her in all three areas. After two years of preschool and then kindergarten, she graduated from occupational therapy. Going into first grade she was still behind in speech, and her movements were still a little clumsy. In first grade she received fewer hours of therapy; however, she still received speech and physical therapy.
In second grade she still received both services, but we had finally seen drastic improvements and were so excited with where Kendall was headed. With one month of second grade left, we had an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meeting and were told Kendall had graduated from all services and was on an even level with all her peers.
When we received this news, it was another best feeling moment. Therapy is hard and required work on our part outside of school. It required us to take some extra time to practice what she had learned through the therapy in order to keep her going and on the right track and not to regress.
Not everyone that comes home from the NICU will need therapy, but if your child does, please know that it is okay. It doesn’t mean that your child will never get better or that they will never be on the same level as their peers.
Kendall is living proof that you can get therapy, work hard, and come out on top at the level of your peers. When she started her therapy, Kendall was three and tested at an 18-month-old level. Now at age eight, she tests at an eight-year-old level.
It takes hard work and dedication, but their goals can definitely be accomplished. Stay strong and positive and always believe that they can and will accomplish more than you could ever imagine.