Development Evaluation

Recently the twins had their development evaluation. It is run through the federally funded Early Steps program and is a free service that the babies qualify for due to their low birth weight. It went pretty much as we expected and we are delighted that they will have extra help to bring any developmental delays up to speed.

I have to say we were pretty impressed with the facility itself. When you walk in it's like you are instantly transported to a magical world which was their waiting room.

When it was time for their evaluation they were brought into separate rooms. I went with River and G took Riley. They had two evaluators each and one other person took notes. When I walked in the room with Riv, the first thing he did was flash his larger-than-life smile at one of the evaluators. She smiled back and said, "well we can check that one off the list!"  They proceeded to play with him, making noises, ringing bells, changing his position all to see his reactions. They shut the lights and held a penlight in front of his face to see if he'd track it with his eyes. I had a feeling he might not do well with this one due to his torticollis (stiff neck) - which he has an upcoming physical therapy appt. he would follow the light on one side then stop at the midline point. He's able to turn his neck to the left, it's just a preference not to. They waved toys at him and tried to put things in his hands but I knew he wouldn't hold anything, as he hasn't been doing that yet. Overall he seemed to do pretty well.

When the evaluation was finished, I left the room with River to meet G and Riley back in the waiting room while they put the scores together. I found out from him that Ri girl didn't do so well. She was apparently super fussy and cried a lot, which surprised me as she's generally not like that, and I guess she didn't track at all. But as soon as he set her in the car seat she fell asleep so she must have been cranky. Hey, if I was tired and someone flashed lights in my eyes, flipped me around and made loud noises near my ears I'd probably cry too! LOL. I wasn't too concerned with it though. This wasn't the SATs for Riley to get into college. I already assumed she'd be assigned some kind of developmental help and as an educator I am all for that! 

After about twenty minutes they brought us all back in a room with all six people that participated in their evals. They went on to explain the scoring process and that there was a bell curve range of 80-110. They gave us the scores for both their gestational age and corrected age and said they'd like them to fall somewhere in the middle. With some things they were above level (Riv scored off the charts for Social), some were on level and some below. We didn't realize they were supposed to be grabbing/holding things already. So that was one thing they needed to work on. Individually, River needs physical therapy for his neck and it was recommended that Riley meets with an Early Intervention Specialist to work on work on her neck strength, social skills and ensure she hits her milestones. Their thought was that by each of them getting one service, it will ultimately help both of them since what we learn to do for one we can do for the other and vice versa. Each specialist will come out once a week. Their philosophy is heavily based on parent education, meaning they show the parents what to do at home to most benefit the babies' development.

So all in all we were happy to have had the evaluation and grateful they'll get free services that will enhance their development and help give me ideas and the tools needed to reinforce what I already do with them each day. I'm actually looking forward to getting some new ammo for my arsenal of daily activities! Anything to help the twins get the most out of their days!