Blogs     Healthy Kids    

Stepping Into Early Intervention



Every child deserves their best start

Early Intervention helping my son

When first introducing solid foods to a baby, it is expected that there will be hilarious, camera-worthy moments of spitting and silly faces, maybe a mess to clean up. When first trying purees with our son, there were tears and gagging, screaming and hyperventilating. As a new mom, I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew this wasn’t “normal.”

For many reasons, I held off on introducing foods to Flynn until after the window of time typically recommended. I chose to strongly take his adjusted age into consideration to ensure that he was ready, but his muscle control was also very weak, meaning that he was unable to sit up on his own – even assisted. If you are unsure of what adjusted age means, a baby's adjusted age is their chronological age minus the number of weeks that he/she was premature. For example, I waited to attempt solids until Flynn was almost ten months old, but because he was born twelve weeks early, his adjusted age was about six-and-a-half months. After talking to the pediatrician, I decided to start with pureed avocado and recline the seat in Flynn’s highchair to give him the best position for his current abilities.

Well, as I mentioned, it did not go well: there was choking, gagging, and turning blue. Unfortunately, but also luckily, it was not my first time having to spring into action and he ended up just fine. Scarred from the first incident, but optimistic that it was just a difficult transition, I tried again but the result was more of the same. I remember crying to my family, “It’s just not normal and I don’t know what do.”

Related: Experts Walk You Through Early Intervention Decisions

The timing actually worked in our favor, because later that week, Flynn had an appointment to see his neonatologist. Neonatology is a type of pediatrics that consists of the medical care of newborn infants, namely the ill or premature. In our case, he has an appointment to follow up with her every three months, and I was able to speak with his doctor pretty immediately after the choking incidents. This is when I first heard of Early Intervention. Her suggestion was to get Flynn evaluated by the county to see if he qualified for services through this program, specifically physical therapy. Her thought was that strengthening his core muscles would aid in the areas of feeding.

Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Early Intervention is the term used to describe the services and supports that are available to babies and young children (under the age of three) with developmental delays and disabilities and their families. This may include speech therapy, physical therapy, and other types of services based on specific needs. These publicly funded programs are available in every state and territory and provide services for free or at reduced cost for any child who is eligible. In a future post, I will discuss in-depth about the evaluation process, as well as each individual service that Flynn receives. He did qualify, however, for physical therapy so that’s where our journey began.


As a parent, I wish that I had known more about Early Intervention sooner, especially being in the NICU. We heard a lot about activities that our son may not be able to do or things that he would not be capable of, but never how these things could be possible with specialists or how to get that help. I encourage everyone to be informed and ask questions, especially if they have concerns about their young children. We owe a lot of Flynn’s success to his amazing team of teachers, who have become such a huge part of our family. Every child deserves their best start, and this became possible for our family through the Early Intervention Program.

________________________________________________________________

Underestimated Strength is a collection of posts all about our journey through life as we navigate preemie parenting after the NICU. You can read my posts here every Tuesday! Also, feel free to follow me on Instagram, where I speak freely about our story and advocacy.

Do you have any questions, comments or topic suggestions? Contact me via email: kristina.mulligan.blogs@gmail.com


Other posts by this this blogger


Be A Buddy, Not A Bully

Aug 6, 2020

The idea of inclusivity is a beautiful thing - people of all types of abilities playing together, being accepting/accepted and kind. What is the reality?

Social Distancing and the Village

Aug 6, 2020

COVID-19 is causing fear in many and panic in others. In some way, however, we all feel the anxiety – and possibly the soreness of dry hands.

A Letter to My Sweet Boy On One of "Those Days"

Aug 6, 2020

We do hard, painful work, but then we come home to each other and continue to live the truth that we know.

Why Should You Go Green This March?

Aug 6, 2020

Please join us in the movement! Hey, the Mid-Hudson Bridge is doing it, why can’t you?

The Fixer

Aug 6, 2020

By nature, by design, in all ways, I am a helper – even my Enneagram says so. I always have been.

Preparing for House Arrest...

Oct 1, 2019

Every person in a baby’s life – grandparents, aunts and uncles, siblings, cousins, and friends – could and should be responsible for keeping him or her healthy.

This Invisible Life

Sep 23, 2019

I've just gotten so used to carrying all of this weight that it appears to be much lighter to anyone looking in. Or maybe they just don't see me.

Accessibility Awareness Day

Sep 17, 2019

The Walkway Over the Hudson was bustling with like-minded people, all of us hoping to spread knowledge surrounding the need for recreational spaces for individuals with disabilities throughout the Hudson Valley.

ThinkDIFFERENTLY Dash

Sep 10, 2019

The event was a one mile walk/run for people of all abilities, and we were proud to race alongside every participant sporting our capes for our team, Flynn's Superheroes.

NICU Awareness Month

Sep 3, 2019

September is NICU Awareness Month. Though the time and place is difficult for me to revisit, I know that it is so crucial to do.

Why I Blog

Aug 27, 2019

It's Hudson Valley Parent's 25th Anniversary, so I'm sharing why I blog.

Occupational Therapy Q&A

Aug 20, 2019

I sat down with Occupational Therapist Elizabeth Harnett Ms,otr/l to get your top questions about occupational therapy answered.

The One Where We Cut Our Own Sunflowers

Aug 13, 2019

This past weekend we attended the 2nd Annual Sunflower Cutting Event hosted by Hudson Valley Cold Pressed Oils in Pleasant Valley.

Learning About Vehicles

Aug 6, 2019

This past week may have been Shark Week, but for us, it was “Vehicle Week.” We used our bodies, our senses, and our imaginations to explore all there is to know about things that go!

I Am A Supermom.

Jul 30, 2019

I’m a mom, and those three letters carry so much weight, responsibility, and love in so many different ways for every type of mother.

How to Live Like It’s All Cupcakes & Rainbows

Jul 23, 2019

Hey, I know it's not all cupcakes and rainbows, but I'd rather go through life thinking that it mostly is instead of being like you. You don't sing, you don't dance. So grey all the time!

Flynn Has Breakfast With Superheroes

Jul 16, 2019

This past Saturday, our family attended a Superhero Breakfast at the Old Dutch Church in Port Ewen. The event benefited the non-profit organization Christmas Wishes Ulster County.

Friend, Stop Apologizing

Jul 9, 2019

You’re sorry that this life that we never asked for is the one that we have. But I’m not sorry.

Summer Bucket List

Jul 2, 2019

My intent for the month of July is to “be present,” but I want to make this my top bucket list item for the entire summer.

A Tale of Guilt & Intervention

Jun 25, 2019

I know that this is what he needs, so I have no regrets, but as a mom, I feel lesser than.

Things Preemie Parents Don’t Want You to Know (But You Should)

Jun 18, 2019

Here some things that you should know, being in the support system of a family with a preemie.

Letter to a Preemie Mom

Jun 11, 2019

I see you. I’ve been there. I see you, your patience, gentleness, and strength, and sometimes it helps to know that you are not alone.

Go Love Yourself

Jun 4, 2019

I'm a work in progress, but I know a lot about building self-confidence that I need to share with you.

Learn How to Act FAST This Month

May 28, 2019

In honor of this year’s Stroke Awareness Month coming to an end, I wanted to share my personal story.

Inclusivity is the New Black

May 21, 2019

Ask the questions. Become more knowledgeable. Practice inclusivity. Be compassionate.

The Mom-petition

May 14, 2019

Have you gotten caught up in the competition of motherhood?

The Toll of the IFSP

May 7, 2019

We’ve become pretty good friends here, right? I think we have, so I’m going to be honest with you. Ready? Let's talk about the IFSP...

Milestone Worries

Apr 30, 2019

As a mother of a child with developmental delays, I am often asked the question: “When should I worry that my baby isn’t _______ yet?” and I want to offer my advice.

Celebrations & Sensory Kids

Apr 23, 2019

There are certain things that are important to remember when you have a loved one with sensory needs.

Our Favorite Children’s Books Right Now

Apr 16, 2019

Here is a collection of books that never get old at our house, recommended by a pretty cool two-year-old...

The Opposite-of-Terrible Twos

Apr 9, 2019

With all of the focus on the negative, it’s hard to remember that there is so much more to two! There are many other things that come with two that are unbelievably far from terrible.

Interview With a Preemie Dad

Apr 2, 2019

I sat down with a very special preemie dad to ask some important questions.

"That's Your Dream?"

Mar 26, 2019

So many books tell us that we need to pursue our greatest dreams and be more than just who we are. But wait, what if that’s not my dream?

Prematurity in the Media

Mar 19, 2019

With premature birth being a huge concern in this country, it’s important to spread knowledge and awareness. Can the entertainment industry help with this?

Ways Being a Preemie Mom Has Changed Me

Mar 5, 2019

In what ways can prematurity change your parenting? For me, preemie life has lasted long beyond leaving the NICU.

Small Steps for Self-Care

Feb 26, 2019

How can you include self-care into your life without it feeling like work?

Mom Guilt: What is it and what can we do about it?

Feb 19, 2019

mom•guilt /mahm-gilt/ (noun): the unhappy feelings caused by thinking or feeling like you did something wrong, like missing your child blink, not having time to make teacher gifts, or forgetting that they don’t like scrambled eggs this week.

The Stages of Preemie Parenting

Feb 12, 2019

How can the stages of grief apply to the NICU experience?

How Choosing My Words Changed My Parenting

Feb 5, 2019

The words that we choose are more important to children than we realize. How can vocabulary be changed to create a more positive environment?

Five Toys for Babies and Toddlers That We Would Be Lost Without

Jan 29, 2019

We take our toys very seriously at our house. These are some of our favorites! What are yours?

Life as a Work-From-Home Mom

Jan 22, 2019

I'm sharing my personal experience of what it's like as a mother who does double-duty with work and parenting all day.

How I Created a Sensory Routine for My Toddler

Jan 15, 2019

Did you know that quick additions and modifications to your current routine can create a more regulated sensory environment for your child? Check out these tips to incorporate sensory activities into your every day!

Home with a Preemie During Flu & RSV Season

Jan 8, 2019

Premature babies have immature immune systems and get sick more easily than babies born at term. Learn the precautions that can be taken to minimize risk.

New Year...New Me?

Jan 1, 2019

What makes a New Year's resolution?

There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays

Dec 25, 2018

If you know a family that is in the NICU during the holidays, here are a few ideas to make their days merry and bright.

It's Beginning to Look, Smell, Taste, Sound, and Feel A Lot Like Christmas

Dec 18, 2018

This year, I organized a Twelve Days of Christmas Crafting Extravaganza for Flynn. Each activity is sensory focused but is also so fun and, of course, holiday-themed.

NICU to Now

Dec 11, 2018

After being admitted to the hospital at 27-weeks pregnant with a sudden and severe case of preeclampsia, Kristina's pregnancy went from amazing to scary. At 28-weeks, she gave birth to her son Flynn via emergency c-section. This is Flynn's story.