Explaining Early Intervention Services to Grandparents

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Explaining Early Intervention Services to Grandparents

Sometimes when a child is first enrolled in Early Intervention services our families tell us that their own parents are not “on board” with the program. They sometimes hear things from their child’s grandparents such as, “You didn’t talk until you were 3, and you’re fine!” or “There is nothing wrong with my grandson, he doesn’t need therapy!”

Talking with grandparents about the benefits of Early Intervention services is very important in order to help them to understand the pluses to a program that may not have existed when they had their own children.

Grandparents can play a vital role in their grandchildren’s development. These days we often see many grandparents as fulltime baby sitters for their grandchildren or sometimes even primary caretakers.

How Do I Explain Early Intervention Services to my Child’s Grandparents?

  • Let them know that EI does not “diagnose” a child.
  • Let them know that EI is not there to tell you “something is wrong” with your child, but rather to determine a child’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • Explain that standardized testing is required by law in order to access appropriate services and in order to pinpoint the areas in which a child needs a little more help.
  • Explain that EI is meant to help children “catch up” before school age.
  • Let them know that EI is a free program, provided in your home.
  • Let them know that EI therapists are happy to meet with grandparents to explain EI or demonstrate ways grandparents can help or participate in a child’s therapy.
  • Explain that EI is not the same as out-patient therapy at a clinic or hospital and is a family friendly, parent training/coaching program involving the whole family (including grandparents) and not just the child.

How Can Grandparents Support my Child?

  • Invite grandparents to meet your child’s therapy team and observe a therapy session.
  • Encourage grandparents to ask questions about therapy and what skills the child is currently working on.
  • Invite grandparents to an IFSP meeting and share your child’s IFSP goals and strategies with grandparents, then brainstorm ways they can work on these skills when they spend time with their grandkids.
  • If grandparents live close by, ask your therapist about holding periodic therapy sessions at the grandparent’s house.
  • Let grandparents know that they sometimes offer different experiences than you offer at your house & all these can be learning experiences for your child.  For example:

-Mom doesn’t bake, but grandma does

-Grandpa mows the lawn using a riding mower

-Grandma’s house has stairs to climb, ours does not

-Grandpa reads children’s books that we don’t have at our house

-Grandma takes us on “field trips” to the park or zoo

Once grandparents gain an understanding of Early Intervention services and how they can help their grandchildren, they are often eager partners in your child’s therapy and continued success!