Things to Know: Down Syndrome and Early Intervention

by Carrie with Children with 10 comments

It’s amazing the things you learn when you have a child diagnosed with a medical condition.  I had no idea what the term “early intervention” meant before my Molly was born….and wow did I learn quickly that it’s an imperative part of her development. Early intervention is programming consisting of therapy sessions, activities and exercises to help address the delays found in those with special needs.

Each state has their own set of regulations and offerings for early intervention services. While every child is different in their needs for services, here’s a little about the early intervention programs we participate in with Molly.

When Molly was six months old, we went for an overall evaluation at Hope Haven’s Children Clinic and Family Center.  The therapists there worked with her and evaluated her overall skills.  From there it was decided that we would start out with regular physical therapy sessions and gradually work in speech therapy once she begin eating baby food.  In the last month, we’ve also added occupational therapy into our regular sessions. Wednesday mornings are our therapy days and I look forward to them each week (and I think Molly does too!) Maggie is a part of the sessions – she loves it just as much as her little sister!

Physical Therapy

Every other Wednesday, Molly has a 30-minute physical therapy session.  In the beginning, Molly and her therapist Kris worked on balance, body control and the early stages of crawling.  Now, Molly and Kris work on learning to walk – you’d be amazed at how technical it is just to walk!  I have mixed emotions, but once she masters crawling, we will “graduate” and no longer need physical therapy.  We’ll miss playing with Kris on Wednesdays!

Speech Therapy

Every Wednesday morning after PT , we make our way down the hall to Speech Therapy with Mrs. Melanie.  When we began working with Mel, it was all about learning to be fed with a spoon and oral motor skills.  Now, we are working on sounds and there’s a lot of baby chattering on during our session.  Molly loves playing with bubbles and they use them in speech therapy to practice the “ba”, “ma” and “pa” sound… “bubbles” and “pop”.  Today we worked on introducing new food textures – today’s snack?  A banana! 

Occupational Therapy

We recently added OT in to our weekly Wednesday morning routine.  We are big fans of Molly’s therapist named Holly.  She’s already taught us so much just in our two visits.  The main activity right now is working on hand to mouth feeding.  Molly has no trouble picking things up, but still needs help learning the skills for self feeding.  Once she gets older, OT will help her in learning how to tie shoes, dress herself, open/close items, etc.  She’s enjoying her time with Holly, I’m excited we’ve got her on our side!

Okay…so enough about us!  What questions do you have about Molly’s early intervention programs? While I’m definitely not an expert in this area, I enjoy the conversation that typically develops in the comments section!

Want to read past “Things to Know About Down Syndrome” series?  Check out my past articles More Things to Know About Down Syndrome and Things to Know About Down Syndrome and Things To Know About Down Syndrome – Physical Traits.


  • Jen @ Born Just Right

    It sounds like you have a really wonderful Early Intervention program. When my daughter (who was born with one hand) was little we’d have to go location to location for different therapies until our EI program finally approved for in-daycare visits. Jordan’s headed to Kindergarten in the Fall and her OT will visit during her after school program so we don’t interrupt learning time. The therapists we worked with when Jordan was a baby are still the ones we work with today. It’s still wonderful. (Although we don’t have EI support anymore – it’s out of network from my insurance.)

    • Carrie with Children

      Hi Jen – We are in love with our EI program at Hope Haven. That is so great that Jordan can have OT during after school program – how great that it won’t take away from her school/learning time! I know you must be so proud of her starting Kindergarten soon!

  • Elaine

    Myniece has down syndrome and ei is very key. I am there when her teacher and pt come( she doesn’t get it yet) and over the last year it’s amazing how much she has learned and me too. She just started speech. Thank you for your article.

    • Carrie with Children

      Hi Elaine – That is great you are able to participate in your niece’s therapy sessions. I’ve learned so much during our short time at EI. I love it…and think my Molly does too!

  • Life twins & a drama queen

    Thanks for hosting would love if you can follow me back. Molly is adorable.

  • Tonya

    Early intervention is my favorite way to work. I love working with kids at that age.

    • Carrie with Children

      Hi Tonya, thanks for reading! We love our therapists, they do great work with Molly!

  • Steph B

    I absolutely love Molly’s smile. 🙂 So beautiful.
    I’m happy to hear that early intervention/phsyio is so involved. It sounds like you have a great program.

    And it is so true what you learn after your child is diagnosed with a medical condition. While my son does not have down syndrome, he was diagnosed with craniosynostosis (his soft spots were fused in the womb). I had never heard of that in my life! Who would have thought a soft spot could fuse before a baby is even born.

    I’m really looking forward to following this blog and Molly’s adventures.

    • Carrie with Children

      Thank you so much, Steph! We love our EI programming! Thanks for following along on our adventures with Molly!