Today we met our child care worker from the IDP. IDP is the infant development program - a program meant to help at risk or special need children age 0 - 3. Any child with developmental delays can be included in this program by referral, but our boys were automatically referred given their early birth.
The program is pretty great. We are assigned someone who will assess the boys for the next three years. Basically, they come to your house and interact with the kids and determine whether they are meeting their milestones. If they are, great, and the visits become fewer and farther between. If they aren't, then other specialties get involved as needed - occupational therapy, physio therapy, speech therapy, psychology, etc. The visits are always at home so they can tailor any particular therapy to the boys' home environment.
Today's visit was mostly just to get to review the boys' history. She didn't go through a total assessment of them, but did read through the 12 week checklist with us and observe the boys' behaviour. She assured us that from first meeting, they looked great and doing what she would expect for their age. The nice thing about this program, aside from that fact that they offer you endless help and support if it's required, is that their criteria for meeting milestones is very detailed. They have a standard path that children should developmentally be following so they can watch very closely if they are deviating from that path. They are less concerned with the time it takes for them to develop a skill and more concerned with how the skills are developing.
So for instance, when you take your baby to the doctor for its 2 month checkup, the doctor goes through a list: "Is he doing the following?". Yes or no. If no, then you are left with a pretty black and white answer that your child isn't keeping up. But in this case if a child isn't meeting a particular milestone they can trace backwards along the path and make sure they have previously done the things leading up to that skill. A perfect example is that in the coming weeks the boys should be able to follow an object from one side of their visual field to the other. We told her Nolan can do it already, but Asher can only follow an object part way, for instance from the left to somewhere in front of him. She assured us that's great, because prior to following an object completely from one side to the other, a baby learns to follow from one side to midline as they are trying to coordinate their eyes and the motor skill of turning their head. Therefore Asher is right on track even though he hasn't reached that particular milestone yet.
All in all, she left with us feeling incredibly positive about the whole experience, and looking very forward to her next visit in three weeks. At that point she will play with the boys and watch their movements closely to ensure that their muscle tone appears to be normal and they are moving and socializing as we would hope.