The ECI evaluation is a state form called Developmental Assessment of Young Children (DAYC), and it covers five areas of development. Brooklyn had her evalutation yesterday, and it took about two hours. In order to qualify for services with ECI, Brooklyn would have to show a "significant delay" of at least three to four months in at least one of the five areas. She is 18 months old, and in an ideal world, she would score as an 18 month old on everything. But it's not, and here is how she scored out:
1. Cognitive - 21 months
2. Communication - 13 months
3. Social-Emotional - 11 months
4. Physical Development - 12 months
5. Adaptive Behavior - 12 months
So. "Significant delays" in four out of five areas. I really, really did not expect that, and it was like a punch in the stomach. Delays in one or two areas that overlap, yeah, okay, I understand that. But four???
The way that they explained it to me is that most of the problems go back to speech - that Brooklyn doesn't have a word for anything that she wants, that she doesn't initiate using words, that she doesn't show us what she wants or needs with speech or gestures. When she wants something, she gets very upset and just cries and screams, and we are just left to try to play the guessing game about what has her so upset. A major goal is going to be to teach her words and signs to show us what she wants to reduce her frustration and make things happier for everyone.
I know that my baby understands a whole lot of what we say but just can't say it herself, but yet the low "adaptive" score comes from her not understanding what things like "put the block ON the table" or "put the cup IN the bowl" mean. Also, that she doesn't play in "repeated sequences," such as rock the baby, feed the baby, burp the baby....three or four repeated things in a row. I think she seems awfully young to be doing things like that, but what do I know. I cried when she explained this part to me, because it makes me feel like I haven't been doing enough to teach Brooklyn things she should know at her age. The guilt I feel over this is ridiculous. I feel like I have failed my daughter, like a lazy, sorry-ass, unworthy mother.
There were a few things that made her score low that I honestly didn't agree with...like on the Social-Emotional section, at her age, they wanted her to prefer one parent over the other for things like feeding her, changing her, etc. She doesn't. The only thing is that she only wants me to read to her. They considered it a negative that she didnt have a favorite parent for these everyday tasks. That seems strange to me.
The good news from yesterday was that the speech therapist said that she saw NO signs of autistic behavior whatsoever. Thank you, God!!!!
For now, we will have a visit from the speech therapist once per month, the developmental coordinator once or twice per month, and the physical therapist has not contacted us to schedule anything yet. Every six months they will re-evaluate and see whether she is making progress.
The speech therapist said that this differs from a lot of programs where parents take their children to therapy twice per week or something like that. They visit less often and focus more time on teaching the parents strategies to use at home with the children so that the children can be benefiting from the therapy constantly, not just a couple of hours per week. I like that idea. I wonder if the physical therapy is going to be the same way. I honestly worry about that, because when I was supposed to do physical therapy stretches on Brooklyn's neck when she was an infant, it seemed to cause her so much pain that I could not do it. I cried more than she did.
Anyway, we did some initial goal-setting, and the speech therapist gave us just a couple of strategies to start using with Brooklyn at home (giving her simple choices, naming everything).
And that's where we are at right now.