Physical Therapy?

I've read in many posts that a lot of you have a PT coming to your home to work with your child. My daughter was born at 31 weeks and not one single person - nurse or doctor from the NICU or her current doctor mentioned getting a PT. I don't want my daughter to miss out on any extra help she can get. I'm sure everyone's reasons are different but if it's a common thing for a preemie to work with a PT I want to get moving on this. Can you share your stories w/me in regards to PT? Thanks!!

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My 35 weeker born 2 lbs 7 oz is now 15 wks adjusted. He has low muscle tone and is having a difficult time gaining weight. He is hanging around 10 lbs for the past week or so. He is seeing GI specialist to find out what is going on and why he isn't thriving. It was suggested by the NICU follow up clinic Dr. to contact our county Early Childhood Intervention and Assessment program. It's free and they come to your home to help you help your child develop skills at her own pace. My son is being assessed on Oct. 10. I'm hoping this will help him with tummy time, push ups, rolling over, etc. These are things he currently hasn't mastered yet.

If you feel that you daughter is behind on skills, contact your local county to have your child assessed. They will let you know whether she needs PT or any other type of help.

Andresito's mom.

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My son was born at 26 weeks. The hospital had an OT/PT that worked with him a little while he was in the hospital and it was standard for the hospital we were at for them to submit our families information to the Early Intervention program before babies are discharged from the NICU. We had his evaluation in our home about 2 months after he came home and they determined that he did not qualify or need any PT. Every preemie is different and fortunately in our case he has not needed any extra help. When I have had concerns about his development I have discussed them with his pediatrician. You may want to discuss therapy with your ped. I know a lot of preemies do work with PT's but just know there are some that also don't.

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Hi. My son Lucas started with early lntervention in January. Every 2 weeks a teacher would come to my home and basicly teach me activities to do with Lucas to help him reach his milestones. Then he had problems with his left side (see post about left side weakness PVL) and the neurologist wrote a prescription for PT and OT. This still comes through the Early Intervention program. If your daughter is meeting her milestones with out help she won't quallify. If at a later date she starts falling behind she can be reevaluated then. The PT is not needed by all preemies only those that are behind by more than their corrected age. An early Intervention instructor would be the first step before a physical therapist.

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I have a 30-weeker who receives in-home PT and OT once per week. My NICU did not have a follow up clinic nor did they mention early intervention. My pediatrician is the one who gave us the referral. In most (if not all) states your child will qualify for a free initial evaluation if the birth weight is below a certain point. Contact your state's EI coordinator and schedule an evaluation.

Hope that helps!

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My son was born at 31 weeks and spent 4 1/2 weeks in the NICU. About a week after I brought him home I got a call from a service called West Virginia Birth to 3. I had been referred to them by my pediatrician. I have a physical therapist come in once a month and a developmental specialist once a week. I don't know if every state has a Birth to 3 service, but I figure they all have their own version. I would ask your pediatrician. Between the two specialists, they've caught several things I didn't notice and given me lots of different things to do with my baby to get him moving along. If you would like, my e-mail address is Feel free to e-mail me and I'll let you know the things the PT has told me. But, again, talk to your pediatrician, or call the NICU. They would know where to point you.

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I am a special education teacher and mother of 6 month old twins (4 months adjusted, born at 31 weeks). My boys received PT and OT while in the NICU. Upon discharge the NICU automatically referred them for an eval, but I had already discussed with the PT and OT that I would wait until 6-8 months to have them evaluated again. When called to schedule an eval I declined and explained that I would be moving and would be setting up an eval for October in the city where I was moving. Since then my boys have made good progress, but there are a few concerns. They had really high tone while in the NICU. It was finally in the high-normal range when discharged. They are not rolling over yet. So, their ped has us going to a PT for an eval next week. Both their ped and I agree that the eval will most likely show that there is nothing wrong, but it is best just to have things checked out just in case. I am not going the route of early intervention because if my boys need services, they need more than I can give them in home; in my state my boys would not work directly with a PT because I would be providing the services myself.
So, there are two routes to PT: one is the private route and one the public. Your doctor can refer you to a PT and you can go there with self-pay, your insurance, etc. Or you can go through the public route--which needs a referral from a doctor, therapist, parent, etc.
The public route is paid for by the state. The program is federally mandated and is basically special education for babies (birth to three years). Some states call it early intervention, some call it the infant/toddler program, and some call it other things. All states have it, there just may be another name. Any child can get an eval. However, if there is clearly no issue, the eval with be very short and may only include a short observation and not formal evals. The evaluation is done to determine if a child qualifies for services. Some very strict guidelines have to be met for a child to qualify. Doctors cannot get these guidelines pushed aside with notes, letters, prescriptions, etc. A child has to qualify for services based on the evaluation. If a child does not qualify for services, the eval is the end of that case, but a child can be referred and evaluated again. If a child does qualify then it is determined what services are needed. An IFSP (Individual Family Service Plan) is written for the child. Services very greatly from one child to the next and one state to the next. In some states there are no direct services, but someone comes to the home periodically to show the parent(s) what to do with the child for therapy. In other places therapists may come to the home once a month, once a week, or several times a week. And in some states there may be direct services from therapists for very severe kids and only indicrect services to others (with the parents providing the services after being instructed). The services are not just PT, but may include PT, OT, speech/language, or whatever is needed. Keep in mind that these evals go by the adjusted age.
Once a child reaches three, the child moves to the regular special education program with the school district. This would be with a special ed preschool and services would be given within the preschool setting.
If you want info on the early intervention program in your state you can contact your pediatrician, social services, or a school district can tell you where to go.

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