I never knew how awesome the letters EI were until they became a part of my life.
When my son and daughter were born at 25 weeks we knew there would be some obstacles in the path. We were referred to Early Intervention and Help me Grow in Lucas County when we were discharged from the NICU. They helped us with everything from evaluations for delays, feeding troubles, and even some speech delays. Our friends there cared for my kids almost as if they were their own.
The crazy thing is, I had two kids before my twins and I never knew such a program existed.
I would argue they are one of the best-kept secrets in the area. (Or even the state) My middle was a late talker too and never once was Help Me Grow mentioned to me as a resource. Instead, we navigated and played wait and see.
Help Me Grow/ Early Intervention is a birth to age 3 program.
It is available to everyone and there are no income limits. The best part is it is all at no cost to the families. I called when we were discharged and they came out and did an evaluation. Once we qualified they came out once a month and were an extra set of eyes on their development. We had access to physical, occupational, and speech therapy. It was nice to have that other layer when another therapy was suggested. This was all free through the program until we needed more hours than they could provide.
While my kids ended up in private therapy there was so much we were able to do at home within our daily routines.
We didn’t sign my daughter up for private therapy until much later because they were able to monitor and give us ideas for her at home. It was so nice with two small babies to just be able to do things at home and not have to drag them to place after place. Since she didn’t need as much intervention at first we saved some money by having EI/Help me Grow out to just give the little push she needed.
We have now aged out but I am forever so thankful.
We had an awesome family and support system but adding our caseworker and developmental specialist to our tribe was the missing piece. They offered so much help in navigating anything we needed at that time. Before we aged out they also helped with the IEP process for my son and getting us connected so we still had resources even after turning 3.
I only have experience with Lucas County since that is where we live but it is a statewide program. If you have any concerns what so ever about your child’s development or are a recent NICU grad I would encourage you to call for an evaluation. Having more people in your tribe is never a bad thing.