I am writing to you as a lifelong resident of our beautiful and great state of New Hampshire. I am also writing to you as a parent to a beautifully gifted child, actually I'm a mother of two children, two beautifully gifted little girls.
How do I sum up and explain what it's been like in our House these past 2 years?
Some people have asked questions, some don't know what to say, and some are still in denial. It all started when my youngest daughter, Zoey was around 12 months old.
Zoey who was so full of life and was just the most happiest baby you had ever seen, had just suddenly changed right before our eyes. She would bang and rock her head for her own comfort, she would run into another room to remove herself from being around us, retreating into her own space. She stopped making eye contact, she stopped letting us hold her and pick her up, there were no more hugs and kisses from my child, who for the first year of her life couldn't go a day without a hug or a kiss from her mama. She stopped eating and allowing me to feed her. She also stopped answering to her name, even when we yelled it as loud as possible, sometimes with the 3 of us yelling "ZOEY!" all at the same time.
It was as if she went away and she wasn't coming back, no matter how much I prayed, and pray I did, every day and night. I wanted my baby back and I cried and begged God to bring her back to me.
Zoey isn't my first child, she has a sister 16 months older than her. Yes, I have a 5 year old and a 4 year old...two toddlers. I know, I know!
I also went to school for Early Childhood Education and I have been around children my entire life. I knew that Zoey was no longer hitting and reaching milestones and that her speech was delayed, and I also knew that I was scared.
You see, my brain knew what my heart couldn't bare, there was something different with my child, and I needed answers and I needed to help her.
At her 18 month check up, I mentioned the changes that had taken place with Zoey to her Pediatrician. And I watched as Zoey's Doctor evaluated her and called out my child's name, not once but multiple times in different tones, and my child didn't move, look her way, or flinch at all.
What followed next were 2 emergency hearing tests with an ENT and Audiologist, and the results were that her hearing was fine both times.
It was at that point that I was told..."You should have a Speech Evaluation done."
Okay! And I sprang into action.
The Early Intervention team from Community Bridges came to our home, a physical therapist and an early education specialist. I sat down on the floor with these 2 women and Zoey, while my husband occupied our eldest daughter.
I was asked many questions and I sat there as they tried to involve Zoey in play and imitation, and watched as they tried to get her to make eye contact and engage and play with them and she did not.
After the 3 hour evaluation was done, I sat there impatiently waiting for what they had to say to me about my baby! They talked about fine motor and gross motor, but that was not what I was sitting on the edge of my seat about...yes I knew she was delayed a bit in both fine motor and gross motor, more so her fine motor skills, but I wanted to know why my 19 month old daughter who at one point was saying "mama" and "dada" and "bye bye" was no longer saying ANYTHING at all, where did her voice go?
I waited and watched as this professional sat on my floor and looked at her paper reading what she had evaluated from being with my child and then she looked up at me and she started to speak and she said...
"she is a beautiful happy little girl"
Then I heard a lot of things that I tuned out, because I could feel it and hear my heart literally pounding out of my chest and I could feel the achy punch down deep inside my gut, and I could see it written all over this woman's face.
"She has the communication skills of a 6 to 8 month old, but she is still your beautiful happy little girl."
She said to me softly as if she were giving me devastating news, and in fact she was.
I was sitting at the edge of my couch looking down at this beautiful baby girl and I could feel my heart quickly drop from my chest to my feet as I cried. Not just teary eyed cries you get when you watch a sad movie, but really big tears that I could feel dropping from my eyes like rain. These massive tears from my face covered my shirt in a pool of my own sobbing water.
I looked at the woman as I cried and I said..."I'm so sorry! I know that must have been really hard to tell me, I'm sorry, so sorry."
I got up and walked to get a tissue for my face and I heard the woman, who was visibly and emotionally upset whisper to her colleague..."that was really hard" and she was told "yes, but you did great."
You see no one wants to give or get news like that!
After they left I got on the phone calling number after number trying to get an appointment for the diagnosis that these two professionals strongly urged me to get, immediately, as soon as possible, because Early Intervention is extremely vital when caught and diagnosed early.
My child was not quite 2 years old and time was not on our side. In our state Early Intervention ends at three years old. Some states it's five years old, our state it's three years old and most children are not diagnosed until 5 or 7 years of age.
My Sincerest Thanks,