Holly, Sophie’s mother, shares her dilemma about sending Sophie to a family child care provider who does not have experience working with children who use assistive technology.
I try to stay focused on the positive, and look towards the future. And it is a bright future. But that first year, was a really tough one. In the months that followed Sophie’s birth, we had doors slammed in our face, phone calls unanswered, and doctors who just didn’t listen. When we finally got a diagnosis, we were actually thankful. We could finally get her the medicine and help that she needed all along.
Now Sophie is 2 ½ and has come so far. With the help of some great therapists, she has learned to walk. She visually attends to objects, her fine motor has improved, she indicates when she wants things more. It was her physical therapist who first showed me how we could use materials or make small changes to Sophie’s environment to help her. We also used adapted toys with contrasting colors and lights to help her vision develop. After a recent assessment, her speech therapist, Karen recommended we try using picture boards to help Sophie communicate more.
With Sophie doing well and making progress, I decided to go back to work part time to help advocate for families of children with disabilities. I know there are other families out there like mine who need help and I can help them. But I’ve got 5 children, so I need some help too. My husband works full time, so we decided to send Sophie, her sister Jocelyn, and her younger brother, Wes, to Ms. Mary’s 3 days a week. We’ve known Ms. Mary for years now and she has babysat for our older kids on occasion. We trust her, and we know that our children will be safe.
But I realize that Ms. Mary has not cared for any child like Sophie before and having her use the picture boards may be a bit out of her comfort zone. She mentioned how she had been encouraging Sophie to use words. She might be nervous about learning how to use these boards. It’s true that some of the pictures on the board seem a little abstract. But with Sophie not talking yet, she needs a reliable way to communicate with others.