While Seeking Firsts, Nathan Finds a Second Family
something extraordinary, almost magical, about firsts.
First slow dance
First hair cut
For career mom Rebecca, catching firsts aren’t always easy. But on a quiet Sunday in August, Nathan snuck in a landmark: rolling over, four times in row, nailing each tumble like he had been practicing all along.
As a burst of excitement and pride washed over Rebecca, she reached for the phone to share the big headline. Firsts that may come naturally to so many newborns are sought-after, fought-after, time and energy invested groundbreaking goals for Nathan.
Instead of calling her husband or her parents in celebration, she sent a message to someone she recently met: Heather, the physical therapist.
April 2016Beeping machines hooked to colorful tubes.
A doctor instructing, a husband encouraging.
Delivery nurses taking notes and orders.
But the whirlwind of noises and people and time, they all freeze once the obstetrician says she has concerns about your newborn.
“I hadn’t even laid eyes on him yet. It literally felt like the whole world stopped. There was nothing.”
Patience and ProgressNow as a giggly and vibrant two year old, Nathan’s schedule includes both speech therapy and a specialized teacher once a week and physical therapy twice a week at home. Not only does his family support him, but Nathan also receives feedback, motivation and training from these three different therapists for comprehensive growth.
An Extra (Six) Pairs of EyesAlthough acutely observant, Rebecca and Charles didn’t pick up on a few seemingly unimportant details that Nathan’s team of seasoned, certified therapists flagged as potential problem areas. For instance, Nathan’s go-to position was once rolling onto his belly and laying his head on the floor to one side. As it’s a comfortable, relaxed posture, his parents naturally thought this behavior was normal.
Both Nathan’s parents and Heather agree Nathan’s milestones feel bigger because the journey to make progress takes a little longer. The work and dedication from both sides to turn a goal into an achievement contributes to the victory.
Laying The FoundationThe early childhood years lay the foundation for a child’s future development. Heather notes that studies have shown that it is crucial that children with disabilities develop a form of independent mobility at an early age to avoid a sense of learned helplessness, where the child becomes passive and dependent on others and therefore do not develop to their potential.
“Don’t hesitate,” said Rebecca. “Your internal instinct as a parent isn’t always right. That was the hardest thing for me to get over. I’m not the only thing Nathan needs, and we don’t always know best. Delaying this decision is selfish. We owe it to our children. Without our therapists, Nathan might just be sitting on the one spot of the carpet not doing much.”
Early Intervention is a program developed for children birth to 3 years old. Visit littlelukes.com for details.