Of course I do.
A big part of what bothers me about early intervention is the one-size-fits-all philosophy behind it. Yes, I know services are supposed to be individualized, although I can't say our services are really individualized. We're offered PT at birth, OT around 12 months, and ST around 18 months; when the child with DS/Finn is walking, he is expected to give up at-home therapy and receive "global" therapy (20 minutes each, once a week, of PT, OT and ST) in a "therapeutic" preschool. That seems pretty cookie-cutter to me. Any additional services or variances from the usual protocol require a battle with Regional Center.
Anyway, let's say for the sake of argument that all the services are specifically tailored to the individual child (as implied by the IFSP). The mere fact that services/therapy are recommended for ALL babies/children with Down syndrome takes on that one-size-fits-all feel. I was told when Finn was a mere few days old, after he had been diagnosed with Ds, that he needs therapy because he has Down syndrome. They all do. They benefit from it. Early intervention makes a huge difference for them.
Gosh, I am so sick of the whole them and they. Where does Finn, my son, the individual fit in to this scenario? How does anyone know that Finn needs therapy? How does anyone know that therapy is benefitting Finn? All these assumptions that they need therapy, that they benefit from therapy - that's addressing the diagnosis, not the person. And Finn is a person, not a diagnosis.
Maybe therapy will help him walk a month or two or three sooner than he would without it. So what? Why is that better? Is this a race to the finish line? Will walking at 18 months instead of 22 months make the quality of his life, and our family life, better? Can any therapist guarantee that with therapy, he will in fact walk a month or two or three sooner than he would without?
Interestingly, three of my other kids were "late" walkers. Joey and Daisy both walked after they turned 15 months, and Annabelle was over 14 months old when she walked. I believe that I was over 15 months old before I walked. There's nothing wrong with any of them or me (and my twins were not premature, so there was no adjusted age to take into consideration). They just, for whatever reason, were not interested or motivated to walk before they walked. I wonder if therapy could have helped them walk sooner. Maybe. But so what? Would it have changed the outcome of anything except the dates I could write down in their baby books (you know, assuming I had baby books for them . . .)?
Another thing I don't like about early intervention is the assumption that my kid is so fraught with problems that surely our family is not competent to raise him without the help of experts and professionals. Experts and professionals who, by the way, do not have children with Down syndrome of their own. Who probably have never even had a personal relationship with a child with Down syndrome. All their knowledge comes from classes and books and workshops. How much do they really get it? And why can't I be trusted to competently raise my own child?
I'm not saying that Finn doesn't need help and encouragement. But what child doesn't? None of my kids came out of the womb crawling or talking or walking or anything. Eventually, they all figured out how to do the things that babies and kids do. Through the experiences of typical childhood activities. Playing. Interacting. Being touched and hugged and loved and talked to. Who is anyone to say that isn't enough for Finn?