early intervention autism therapy

Who Am I Without EI?

For over two years my life has been all about Early Intervention and now that it’s over, I feel so very lost.

This post has taken me awhile to write. I have so many emotions about transitioning my son from Early Intervention to Preschool that I really needed time to organize my thoughts. For over two years my life has been all about Early Intervention and that now it’s over, I feel so very lost.

Around 10 months we knew Simon was struggling. The sight of food was making him gag, he was chewing everything in sight, he never made eye contact, and he didn’t laugh. It was frightening for us, as first time parents, to think that there might be something wrong. My mom is an occupational therapist, and although I made her promise not to be an “OT Grandma” I asked her for her professional advice. She validated my concerns and we got in touch with our county’s Early Intervention coordinator and started services immediately.

Through Early Intervention, we received Special Education and Speech/Feeding therapies once a week. After his first eval, we agreed Simon had more concerns than when we started and services were increased in frequency plus the addition of an Occupational Therapist and ABA teacher.

We had an amazing team visiting Simon nearly every day of the week. Whatever advice they provided, I took openly and constantly modified our home, schedule, and lifestyle to better suit Simon’s needs. Whatever strategies we were taught, I practice throughout the week with Simon. I knew my carry over would aid greatly in his success at overcoming his challenges. Parenting is a 24/7, but parenting for special needs seriously became my job.

Aside from the amazing training Simon and I received during each session, I also had formed a close bond with each of our teachers. These incredibly smart and compassionate women became our extra moms. They supported me when things were completely overwhelming and understood what I was going through every step of the way. They gave me hope and guidance. It’s a gift that I will

And then one day, it all ended. We were discharged, ready to take on a new adventure called Preschool. Of course I should be thrilled about Simon’s progress, and I am. But I’m also terrified to be left alone; to be a mom/therapist/educator all by myself. I’m sure I will stay in touch with my teachers, but it’s not the same. There will still be new challenges for my son that require carry over at home, but it’s still not the same.

My son is moving on and transitioning well into his first week of Preschool, but there’s no transition for parents. What am I supposed to do now? Early Intervention was my life. I don’t think I have an answer. I don’t have any advice. Just hoping someone out there knows what this feels like, and maybe that we find each other.

Previously posted at Hudson Valley Parent Magazine.

*If you have any concerns about your child, please discuss with their pediatrician or contact your local school district or Early Intervention center for an evaluation.*