Fearing (and Facing) Developmental Delays


Eagerly Awaiting The Crawling Milestone

Last summer, I was looking forward to my daughter’s first Christmas. We were traveling to visit family on the east coast.  I was excited and daunted by the thought of flying with a squirmy, active 10-month-old.  By then, she would be crawling all over the place, making her a true handful on our trip. 

My daughter has always been alert and curious, but never all that motivated to try and move.  Christmas rolled around, and while she loved watching the lights, listening to carols, and eating many tasty treats, she was content to just sit in place.  She was not yet crawling.  I refused to worry, thinking of her as a late bloomer who would get there in due time.

She’s Not Crawling. Now What?

Her first birthday arrived two months later.  While she could cruise after we stood her up and propped her against furniture, she still wasn’t pulling to stand and wasn’t crawling. I remember filling out the Ages and Stages Questionnaire at her 12 month check up, worrying and fretting about her gross motor score.  I pretended to be nonchalant as I talked to our pediatrician, hiding my growing anxiety.  Sure enough, her gross motor score showed that she was developmentally delayed.

I was extremely freaked out and worried upon receiving this news. Hundreds of questions raced through my head. Was my daughter going to be permanently delayed? Was this delay a sign of deeper problems? What was causing the delay? Did my failures as a parent cause the delay? What could I do to help her?

Fortunately, our pediatrician didn’t seem concerned at all, which immediately put me at ease.  She explained that my daughter was right on track in all other areas of development, and was healthy and happy. My daughter just needed a little extra attention and help to get her up to speed, and there was an easy, affordable way to get her that help. It was then that I learned of Colorado’s incredible Early Intervention program.

Early Intervention Colorado, our saving grace

Early Intervention Colorado provides critical support and services for children in the state with developmental delays and disabilities from birth through age 3.  Any eligible family receives all services free of cost.  Within a few weeks of receiving a referral from our pediatrician, we met a lovely, caring team of social workers and developmental psychologists for a formal evaluation.  As expected, my daughter was deemed eligible for physical therapy services.  The fact that services would be provided in our home, and at no cost to us was the ultimate gift to our family.

Two weeks later, we started working with an amazing physical therapist on a weekly basis. He has pushed our daughter out of her comfort zone and helped her develop strength and coordination.  We have been working with him for 10 months, and in that period, we have seen my daughter flourish. She quickly went from a crawler, to a walker, and is now a runner (much to our dogs’ consternation!) 

I am grateful for all that has happened in the past year. It is truly a blessing that Colorado offers readily-accessible developmental and disability services for families at no cost.  It was an added bonus that enrolling in services was simple and painless. I am also thankful that our care providers did an incredible job putting me at ease and reducing my worry. Lastly, I am most grateful for the stubborn yet resilient little girl who was willing and able to put the work into her therapy, even when it wasn’t always fun and enjoyable.

Where We Are Today

We now have an active, curious 22-month-old toddler who almost has too much motivation to move.  She still has moments where she likes to sit back, listen, and observe before jumping to action.  However, I now know that’s due to choice, not inability to climb, run, or crawl.  I no longer worry. Instead I just smile and call out to her, encouraging her to take a chance and try something new.

Learn more about Early Intervention Colorado and how your family might benefit: http://coloradoofficeofearlychildhood.force.com/eicolorado


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