As a mother, my priority is the health, happiness and overall well being of my children. One of the ways to track a child’s progression is through something commonly referred to as milestones, such as a baby learning to hold its own head up, smiling, babbling and so on.
When my youngest child failed to meet her first few milestones on time as an infant, I was a little concerned, but not overly worried. After all, all children are different and can be perfectly normal even if they don’t meet milestones exactly “on time.”
When my child’s progress not only stopped, but began to move backwards, I was alarmed and I soon discovered that she had a physical condition called epilepsy that was actively harming her brain and halting her development. Working swiftly with a team of medical professionals, we were able to get her seizures under control. Even so, she was not meeting her milestones and I knew that I needed professional help for her to work towards improving her development. Being too young to get help from the school district, I knew exactly where I needed to go for what is known as early intervention.
I needed Kids Who Count.
Kids Who Count is a non-profit organization based out of Salem, Utah that has been providing Early Intervention services to Utah County children and their families since 1986. As most of us know, the first three years of life are a crucial time where invaluable skills necessary for a successful life are developed. If a child is found to be progressing at a slower rate than normal, or even not at all, your doctor can refer you to Early Intervention Specialists who will administer an evaluation, at no cost to you, approved by the state of Utah to determine if your child qualifies for Early Intervention Services. Once the child’s needs are determined, a team will be assigned to your child to help them with the places they are deficient.
The services offered by Kids Who Count are as varied as the children they serve. They include cognitive, communication and language, social, emotional, and behavior, self-help/adaptive, and hearing and vision.
Once the evaluation has been done and an individualized plan has been developed, professionals will administer therapeutic services to the child. One of the best parts about Kids Who Count is that these professionals will work with your child in your home with you. This helps the child within the comfort of their own home, and allows you as a parent or caregiver to observe and participate in the sessions so that you can learn from the professionals and learn techniques to help your child progress even after they’ve left your home.
In my experience, when my daughter first started services with Kids Who Count, she could not stand, walk or communicate, and could not feed herself. After our evaluations we were assigned two therapists who came to our home and worked with her, teaching us techniques and activities to continue her progress. It was a long, and at times, a very difficult road, but the professionals were with us every step of the way.
Now my daughter can stand up and walk without a walker, and she can communicate effectively using a mix of ASL and a few spoken words. She is a much happier, more independent, and expressive little girl. We are so thankful and look forward to watching her continue to grow and develop. If you’re interested in seeing how Kids Who Count can help your family or want to donate to this wonderful organization that provides such an important service often at little to no cost to the families they serve, please visit kidswhocount.org.