Because Eli and Landon were so premature, they qualified for an assessment by ECI: Early Childhood Intervention. This is a state and government program that provides services to children who are at risk for developmental delays. So a group of sweet ladies came to our house just days after we got home from the hospital and performed the assessment on Eli and Landon. Do you know what premature babies do all day when they haven't even reached their actual due date? Sleep. Eli and Landon slept through the entire thing. Despite our best efforts to wake them up...they slept.
But through our converstaions, it was determined that Eli qualified for services based on all of the trouble he initially had with eating. The first few months of Eli's life, he had a lot of trouble with sucking. He would try to eat and his bib, burp cloth, and clothes would all be soaked. He was so little and I was so afraid that he wasn't even getting anything...that it was all just coming out the sides of his mouth. So Macy, our case manager and Carol, our occupational therapist visited us twice a month to check on his progress and provide therapy and strategies for improvement. They did more than that though. They provided emotional support and strategies/information/research for any and all concerns I had regarding Eli and Landon, no matter how big or small of a problem and no matter what area it was in.
After that first year, Eli had grown out of all of his eating issues and was doing wonderfully. When they came for his annual evaluation, it was kind of understood in the group that he probably wouldn't qualify. But at the end of the assessment, Eli was scoring 3 months behind in the area of communication, which is the marker for delay. It was kind of bittersweet that he requalified. Let's be honest...someone is getting paid to come to my house and talk to me about my kids (and I don't have to pay them). Who wouldn't love that. It was like a paid friendship and I had no shame about it....I was going to hold on as long as possible. We got a new case manager, Ginger, and we adore her. She's sweet and funny and just all around wonderful.
So for the past year, Ginger has visited us every other month for about an hour to check on Eli and Landon. Since the boys just had their second birthday, it was time for their annual evaluation. Carol and Ginger came this morning and...shocker...Eli no longer qualifies. So our days with ECI are over and we no longer get to hang out with Miss Ginger every now and then (although she promises to stop in and see us occassionally).
I just thought this was worth recording because it's been a part of Eli and Landon's lives for the past two years. We were blessed to have these ladies when we needed them, but it's nice to know that Eli and Landon are right on track developmentally and there are absolutely no concerns.
Here are the boys with Miss Carol and Miss Ginger this morning. Thanks, Ladies! We love you!