Early Intervention in the school system is a wonderful program for the very young.
With school starting and the new screening schedule sent to us screeners (I have been a certified pre-school and kindergarten screener for about 5 years), I thought it a good idea to remind families with young children about this great service. Thinking about it more, early intervention is good for families taking care of elderly parents as well.
Early intervention applies to children of school age or younger who are discovered to have or be at risk of developing a handicapping condition or other special need that may affect their development. Early intervention consists in the provision of services such children and their families for the purpose of lessening the effects of the condition. Early intervention can be remedial or preventive in nature--remediating existing developmental problems or preventing their occurrence.
Early intervention may focus on the child alone or on the child and the family together. Early intervention programs may be center-based, home-based, hospital-based, or a combination. Services range from identification--that is, hospital or school screening and referral services--to diagnostic and direct intervention programs. Early intervention may begin at any time between birth and school age; however, there are many reasons for it to begin as early as possible. (from 'Kids Source Online)
Both our oldest and middle boys started in a local program pretty much as soon as they moved in with us since they were starting to be enrolled while in foster care. If you have any concerns about your child, you should start with your pediatrician. In MY opinion, it is best to make sure your pediatrician feels that there may be a developmental concern and he/she can refer you to an agency or school program. Our 2 boys went to a program in a facility that is basically for developmentally delayed children and adults. But after a year maybe a year and a half, they moved onto pre-schools. Our oldest (who still wants to be anonymous) continued on through the regular school curriculum. Willie continued on through Special Ed with an IEP. Either way, the Early Intervention program was great. I was able to stay during their sessions and watch and they loved it as the teachers 'played with them' and worked with their plan.
The same concept of early intervention is good for the elderly. My mother was concerned as she got older and started developing slight tremors since Parkinsons runs in the family and was forgetting things occasionally. We also have dementia, Alzheimer's, cancer, heart conditions, diabetes -- my future should be an interesting roll of the dice -- maybe whatever I get, my mind may be at a point that I won't care!! Close to the end of her time, she did have mental issues that we were not sure if it was dementia or delirium (see said post "Delirium or Something Else").
Anyway, what I was getting to WAS mom decided that she wanted to get checked out and was referred to a local Memory and Aging Clinic dealing with the mental status in the elderly. We went several times over a couple of years to get tested, reviewed, have a check-up. The doctors were wonderful, very easy to talk to, work with, patient, pleasant. They made the experience very comfortable. While mom was being tested, I was filling out a questionnaire dealing with how I see her going through her daily life skills. The testing did not take long and it was some visual and some memory testing. Also there was an exam for the Parkinson's.
According to them, there was no worry about the Parkinson's and the level of forgetfulness was normal for someone in her a 80's. This put mom's mind at ease. It was great because they were always available for talking on the phone if we had any concerns or questions. The doctors said that if at any of her future visits they found that there was evidence of dementia or Alzheimer's, there are very good new medicines that have slowed its progression. The doctors were very confident in trying these meds. They said there has been good results with these meds when given at the first signs of Alzheimer's.
We have tried talking to my in-laws since they have issues but they will not budge on going. I suggested to a friend whose mom is having memory issues to try and take her. I don't know if they don't want to find out there may be a problem or they don't want to go to a clinic based in a hospital known for being a place for people with mental issues and addictions. Either way, it is better to go to get checked out no matter where the program is than to worry your family about your condition. If there are meds out there that help, take them and you can spend more quality time with your family.
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4 Signs of Caregiving Stress Overload
ElderCarelink email posts 4 signs that should not be overlooked by you, the caregiver, or a close family member or friend. They report that even though the immediate caregiver may not be helping in direct care, the mind is never far from the needs of the older person, thinking about meals, falling, medications. Take the opinion of a family member or friend if they are telling you that you are stressed. Four signs: you skip your own physicals; you isolate yourself from others; you eat and/or drink too much for good health; you are short tempered with the elder, your spouse or your children. If any or all of these sound familiar, take a break no matter how short in order to recharge. For more information on caregiver stress see ElderCarelink
You can check out my ranting and stream of consciousness writing about looking at adult service providers with Will.
A Caregiver's Poem
I was looking through a 'Caregiver's Blog: Senior Care Support' and came across a poem that was shared by a writer, Dana, from the blog. The poem was written by Becky Netherland and Dana's grandmother shared it with her. I thought it was great and there is not much to say about it - just read!!! Enjoy!!
(picture from Caregivers Blog)
I’ve traveled paths you’ve yet to walk
Learned lessons old and new
And now this wisdom of my life
I’m blessed to share with you
Let kindness spread like sunshine
Embrace those who are sad
Respect their dignity, give them joy
And leave them feeling glad
Forgive those who might hurt you
And though you have your pride
Listen closely to their viewpoint
Try to see the other side
Walk softly when you’re angry
Try not to take offense
Invoke your sense of humor
Laughter’s power is immense!
Express what you are feeling
Your beliefs you should uphold
Don’t shy away from what is right
Be courageous and be bold
Keep hope right in your pocket
It will guide you day by day
Take it out when it is needed
When it’s near, you’ll find a way
Remember friends and family
Of which you are a precious part
Love deeply and love truly
Give freely from your heart
The world is far from perfect
There’s conflict and there’s strife
But you still can make a difference
By how you live your life
And so I’m very blessed to know
The wonders you will do
Because you are my granddaughter
And I believe in you.
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