Choosing the Best High Chair For Baby

<Finding the perfect high chair can be a daunting task for a new mom.  Baby feeding specialist Rachel Coley guest posts on how to choose the best high chair for your baby>

choose the best high chair, positioning, baby feeding, eating solids

TIPS TO CHOOSE THE BEST HIGH CHAIR FOR BABY

If you’ve ever spent an hour pouring over Amazon product reviews desperate for a clear-cut, final, definitive, let-me-get-off-the-computer-and-go-to-bed answer to which swaddle, stroller, pacifier, baby carrier or car seat is the best for your little one, I need to warn you ahead of time that I won’t be sharing the #1 best high chair brand and model for your baby today.

Truth is – I can’t. I don’t know your home’s space constraints, if you have a preference for a wooden chair or a plastic chair, if you care about how cute your baby gear is, etc.

BUT, as a pediatric Occupational Therapist and feeding therapist what I can share with you is the #1 most important thing to consider when  you choose the best high chair for your baby and your family:

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EZPZ for therapists

How to stop the disastrous mealtime spills!

<Finding a new product that I can use with students to improve their time on task AND  limit messes is no easy feat.  In fact, it’s a bit of a miracle. EZPZ>

I am so excited that I have become an affiliate for this amazing company – EZPZ!  So I’m able to give you a link to get an extra 10% off any EZPZ that you  purchase! (See below for links and discounts)

I have a lot of students on my OT caseload who are clumsy, uncoordinated, and distracted.

Then, there are the students who are impulsive, avoidant, and behavioral.

This leads to TONS of spilled paint, knocked over blocks, and (the worst) tiny items that end up ALL OVER my classroom floor.

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Best Baby Shower Gift Ever And It’s Not On The Registry

<Baby shower gifts can be so dull and boring.  Finally, a different personal  baby shower gift that the new mom definitely didn’t register for, The Best Baby Shower Gift Ever>


I have a confession:  I hate baby showers.

And bridal showers too.

I know it makes me a horrible  person.  And I am TRULY happy for my friend and their new milestone.  I just hate having to sit somewhere for four hours drinking punch with no liquor in it when I could be reading a book, going to yoga or cleaning out my closet.

I’m a terrible person.  I know.

BUT – I suck it up and do my womanly duty because it’s the right thing to do and I know my friend needs the loot.

Plus, I LOVE to give presents.  I always give my BEST EVER “Miss Jaime OT” baby shower gift. I’ve perfected it over the years and every one of my friends has gushed about how useful it was.   Plus, NO ONE thinks to register for it.

 I can’t wait to share it with you!

Every new mom registers for diapers, bottles, and sheets, etc.  They go up and down the aisles aiming their “gift gun” at all kinds of silly things that they may never end up using; noise machines, diaper genies, and special “baby” detergent.

BUT THEY ALWAYS FORGET THIS ESSENTIAL ITEM.

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Getting Your Preschooler Evaluated for Special Education Services

 

Preschool Special Education Services…What does it all mean?

If your child is between the ages of three and five years old and you suspect they may have a delay or a disability, you should contact your school district’s Committee on Preschool Education Department (CPSE).  You can almost always access the contact information on your district’s website.  Smaller districts may combine the preschool and school-age offices into one big Special Education department.  Either way, if you call the Special Education number and tell them you need to speak to someone about your preschool age child, they will direct you to the proper person.

Early Intervention services are different than preschool services. For information about getting your child under three years old evaluated, click here. 

So then what happens?

If you suspect a delay and wish to have your child evaluated, you need to make a referral to your district CPSE.  A referral can be made by a  parent, a teacher or a professional in your child’s school,  doctors, judicial officers (such as a family court judge or a probation officer) or a designated person in a public agency.  In addition, a referral may also be made by someone from an Early Childhood Direction Center, an approved preschool program or an Early Intervention Program that serves children with disabilities from birth to age three.

A referral is a written statement directed to your school district asking that your child be evaluated to determine if he or she qualifies for special education services.   You should submit the letter to the CPSE chairperson or Special Education Director.  When you write your referral, it is a great idea to include some details about why you are requesting the evaluation.  This will help the committee to make sure they are assessing your child appropriately in the areas that you are concerned about.  Also, include your child’s name and date of birth.

The evaluation process will include various assessments from educational professionals.  Each child is tested according to the Committee’s concerns.  For example, if a parent or teacher voices concerns over the child’s language skills, a speech and language evaluation may be included as part of the child’s evaluation process.   Another child may have strong language skills but very poor motor skills, so that child would be evaluated for occupational or physical therapy, but not speech and language.

As I mentioned before; give some details about why you are concerned.

“My son Johnny has a lot of difficulty running without falling down, he struggles to sit up straight, he appears clumsy and bumps into furniture, etc.”  

“Annie still has a very limited vocabulary and is difficult to understand when she is talking.  My husband and I can understand her, but strangers don’t know what she is saying.”

“Jayden still switches hands when he picks up his scissors or a crayon. He dislikes wearing socks and tantrums if we insist that he uses a spoon instead of his fingers.”

“Matthew’s teacher states that he only likes to play by himself.  He needs constant reminders not to shout indoors.  He has been getting aggressive with his friends, and he hit someone last week when he was upset”  

This will help the committee to make sure they are assessing your child appropriately in the areas that you are concerned about.   After all, you know your child better than we do!

***Miss Jaime OT’s #1 tip – as you begin this process, get in the habit of being very organized. Get a binder or a file folder and keep all of your child’s evaluations, IEP’s and paperwork in one spot.  You won’t regret it!

Next, you will receive a request for your written consent to have your child evaluated.  Make sure you return the papers!  I can’t tell you how many times a parent has complained about the evaluation taking too long when it is simply because the district doesn’t have written consent.   It may seem redundant, but legally the district has to have their “ducks in a row” before they can get started.

The evaluations can take place at your child’s preschool or your home.  Your district will provide you with a list of evaluators or agencies that you can choose from.  I suggest asking your friends for input- did they use an agency that they really like?  If you don’t know anyone whose child has been evaluated, you can ask your CPSE chair for suggestions.


The evaluations will take place at no cost to you.

The evaluations must be comprehensive and will be conducted by a psychologist and other professionals that have specific knowledge about your child’s disability (special education teacher, speech therapist, occupational therapist, etc.)   It will probably take a few sessions to get all of the testing done. In addition, you will be contacted for information regarding your child’s milestones, habits, strengths, weaknesses, etc.  This is called a social history.

The results of the evaluations will be shared with you face to face or by mail.  You will then have a formal CPSE meeting where all of the professionals who worked with your child will go over the results of their testing.  You can bring any additional information or testing to this meeting to add to your child’s case.   The point of this meeting is to get a complete “picture” of your child and to determine if they meet the criteria to qualify for Special Education services.  If you have questions about any of the reports prior to the meeting, feel free to call that evaluator or the CPSE chairperson.  It is only fair that you understand what you are reading. Sometimes the educational reports get very wordy and confusing for someone who isn’t in the field.  It’s Ok, just ask!

 

In order to be eligible to receive services, your child must meet the criteria set forth by the New York State Education Department.  It must be determined that your child has a disability which impacts his ability to learn.  Here are the NY state regulations on determining if a preschooler meets criteria to receive special education services.

http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/preschool/guide/eligibdeter.htm

So all the testing is done… Now what?

If the CPSE determines that your child is ineligible for Special Education services, they will explain to you why your child doesn’t qualify and provide you with written notice of this decision.  If you disagree with the recommendations or decisions of the CPSE, you can begin steps to request mediation or an impartial hearing.  Click on the link above for more information regarding mediation.  You can also consider going through your health insurance.  You would need to speak to your family physician as well as your insurance company to see if these services are covered.  A final option would be to pay privately for the services you feel your child needs.  Much like a tutor, a private teacher or therapist would work on your areas of concern at a schedule that is convenient for you.

If the CPSE determines that your child is eligible for Special Education services, the Committee will then take the steps to develop an IEP for your child.  An IEP is an individualized education plan that is developed specifically for your child’s educational needs.  The Committee can consider providing your child with just related services (speech and language or OT) or counseling.  Sometimes a child needs a SEIT Special Education Itinerant Teacher or even a half day program.  Each IEP is designed to address your child’s strengths and weaknesses in the Least Restrictive Environment.  The Committee will discuss the supports, services, and modifications to meet your child’s needs.

Once the IEP is developed, you will receive a written copy which will include the goals that the professionals servicing your child are working toward.  The district will follow a timeline to set up the services for your child in a timely manner so that he or she can begin getting the help they need as soon as possible.

Here is the link to the New York State Special Education Website, which includes more detailed specific information about the process.

http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/preschool/brochure.htm

The process takes a while to learn, but soon you will be an expert!  Consider joining your district’s SEPTA (Special Education Parent Teacher Association) to learn more about the Special Education process and all the supports that are available to you and your child.  Knowledge is power!

Good Luck!

~Miss Jaime, O.T.

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What to do if you think your baby needs services

You noticed that your baby isn’t able to do some of the things that other children his age can do. 

What do you do now?

Who do you call?

Where do you go?

 

*This post contains affiliate links

There are a lot of feelings and worries attached to getting services for your child.  BUT the importance of getting your child the services they need can not be stressed enough!

Here are some tips to help you get started.

The whole process can be overwhelming; but the sooner you get started, the better.  If a child is behind in development and he isn’t getting help, the gap will only get wider.

Early Intervention Services

EARLY INTERVENTION- services for children birth to three years old

Children who are younger than three years old who qualify for services will receive them through the County Department Of Health.  The first thing you should do is contact your county DOH.  Here is the information for Long Island, New York.

SUFFOLK COUNTY

http://www.suffolkcountyny.gov/Departments/HealthServices/ServicesforChildrenwithSpecialNeeds.aspx

Telephone  (631) 853-3100, by fax (631) 853-2310

NASSAU COUNTY  

http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/3899/Early-Intervention

Telephone (516) 227-8661

Look for the early intervention or special education services number on your city or county’s department of health web page.  The process will be the same.

What will happen next?

The County Department of Health will set you up with a  “service coordinator”, who will be your “go-to” person in regards to getting your children’s evaluations set up and services delivered.

If your child has a diagnosed with a disability, she or he will always be eligible for early intervention services. Some children do not have a diagnosis but exhibit delays that cause their parents concern.   Your Service Coordinator will set up a multidisciplinary evaluation to look at all areas of development and help with the development of an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP).


Every child referred to the Early Intervention Program has the right to a free multidisciplinary evaluation. This is sometimes referred to as a “core evaluation”.  Multidisciplinary simply means that more than one professional will be a part of your child’s evaluation. Your child’s evaluation team should have:

  • A professional who can look at your child’s overall development.
  • A professional with special knowledge about your child’s problem. For example, if your child is delayed in sitting up or other motor abilities, an occupational therapist might be on your child’s team.Early Intervention Services

Your initial service coordinator will give you a list of evaluators. You have the right to choose any evaluator from this list.  You can ask your initial service coordinator if you need more information about an evaluator to help you decide what will be best for your child and family.  You can also ask your friends or family if they have used a particular agency or evaluator that they were happy with.   Once you pick an evaluator, either you or the initial service coordinator – with your permission – will call the evaluator and make an appointment for your child and family.

Here’s what happens next:

  1. The evaluators will usually come to your house for the evaluation.  It takes between an hour and an hour and a half.    They will play with your child, look for particular skills within their field, and ask you a lot of questions about your child, their milestones, etc.
  2. The evaluators will contact you (usually within a week or two) to tell you what they found, what they think your child’s strengths and weaknesses are,  and if they qualify for services.
  3. Once it is deemed that your child qualifies for services, your Service Coordinator will help you to set up therapy and/or services for your child.
  4. The team will then develop an IFSP (Individualized  Family Service Plan) which will outline your child’s strengths and weaknesses.  It will also state the goals that your child’s therapists will be working toward, and what methods they will use to achieve these goals.  Your family will have input into the IFSP.
For more information about IFSP’s, go to www.health.ny.gov/publications/0532/steps4-1.htm
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The information was obtained from NYSED, and Suffolk and Nassau County department of health websites.  For more information, check out the links provided.

Getting Early Intervention Services can be overwhelming to start this process but you are not alone!  Good Luck!

~Miss Jaime, O.T.

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