About six months ago, Elijah graduated from Early Intervention. We had been receiving services from the state for a year due to his delays, primarily in language--and a February evaluation revealed that although he still had a language delay, it was not significant enough to qualify for EI services any longer.
The developmental specialist who tested him gave us a flyer. And that little flyer was the beginning of a tremendous display of God's sovereignty and goodness in our lives.
It advertised a study at Vanderbilt University called KidTalk, which the specialist thought might be a good match for Elijah. At first we wondered whether it would be worth it (the small compensation wouldn't begin to cover our gas expenses driving downtown so many times), or what would be the purpose of participating. I have to shake my head in amazement when I think back to those questions. We decided to go ahead and check it out...little did we know!
A preliminary screening revealed that Elijah didn't have any other delays (they wanted kids with *only* language delays, not autism spectrum concerns, etc.) and that he qualified for the study--though barely, because his language delay was different than that of many other kids. He was (and still is) highly imitative. So although he was saying a lot of words, it was primarily phrases he had heard us use and was parroting, rather than phrases and sentences he was constructing on his own.
Kids like Elijah can easily slip through the cracks. And a gap that isn't super noticeable or severe now can get bigger and bigger if unaddressed. But--in God's kindness--Elijah was "randomly" chosen to be in the intervention group. Thus began four months of really intensive work...and four months of incredible growth in our little man.
[I'll break this up into a couple of posts since it's already gotten so long. That's what happens, I guess, when I put off writing about something until five months' worth of experiences and thoughts have piled up :) To be continued...]
part 2: Growth for Elijah *and* for Mama
part 3: Elijah's Skills Take Off
part 4: The Study Ends; A Grateful Goodbye