You and your child may have to wait up to a year to see the evaluation team.
There are many things you can do during this time to prepare.
Begin by talking to your child’s doctor. Write up a list of questions and concerns
you may have about your child’s physical development, learning, language, or
behavior. Ask about available services and treatments. These might include
speech, occupational, or physical therapy or behavioral health. You may need a
referral from the doctor to have these covered by insurance. If your child is under
3 years of age, you may be directed to the Family Infant Toddler Program for early
intervention. You can find more information on it at the NM Department of
Learn about developmental delays. There are many books and websites that can
help you understand the differences you are seeing in your child. Research
practical strategies to help your child with their individual development path.
Find support. Family and personal therapy can be immensely helpful at this time.
Being on the same page with your co-parent will make this much easier. Talking
to a trusted person will lower the stress response and mitigate fears. Children can
pick up on our emotions and we want this to be as positive as possible for them
and us. Join parent groups, read blogs, follow and watch videos written by and
with those with developmental delays. Find friends and family members that can
help while you attend appointments. Having someone tending to the children
allows you to tune in to important conversations. Ask someone to take notes so
that you do not have to worry about remembering everything that is discussed.
Keep track. Gather your child’s medical history and evaluations. Note any
behaviors your child may have that concern you. Keeping a notebook or scanning
things into a computer file helps contain and prevent loss of important info.
Make checklists and a timeline to understand how to get started and where to go
from here. These plans will change as you learn more, but they also give you
some sense of control and a reference point. Checklists and visual schedules can
also be effective for helping your child to understand the changes taking place. I
usually put our schedules and lists on a large whiteboard at home and carry a
smaller version in my purse for support while we are out.
Fill out paperwork for waivers your child may be eligible for. The Developmental
Disabilities Waiver (DD Waiver) Medically Fragile Waiver (Traditional Waiver) and
The Supports Waiver (SW) are three of the main waivers available here. Wait
times can be long so it’s best to fill them out as early as possible. Wait times for
therapy can also be long so add your child’s name to the wait list at several
Do not forget playtime. Children learn and grow best in a trusting, loving and
comfortable environment. Follow their lead and join with them in the play they
find interesting. In your research, you will find information on sensory issues and
how to approach them. Try incorporating of few of these ideas at a time during
play. Start with the things that seem most motivating to your child. Some children
find swinging very soothing. Playing in water like a pool or bath can also be very
calming. Teaching children how to swim and about water safety can be
particularly important for this type of disability. Playtime is really the best way for
you and your child to connect and grow the skills needed for a happy future.