After we left the hospital with Jacob, I had a long list of state and federal agencies to contact about providing support for Jacob’s various needs. Unfortunately, we failed to qualify for many of the benefits because we have too many assets. That is, we had both saved up about a year’s salary in retirement accounts and we have more than one car. Apparently, the government expects you to spend all of your retirement savings and sell your second car before you can access any social security disability funds. But I digress.
One of the programs that we did qualify for on the basis of Jacob’s diagnosis is called Early Steps. This program provides in-home support to parents of children at risk for developmental delays. The first step in enrolling in the program is for your child to undergo an evaluation to determine where he is developmentally. This is hard to do with a six week old baby, but there are some tests they can do to get a fairly good sense of where he is. Despite our positive outlook, Justin and I were nervous. We have no way of knowing whether his early ammonia levels were high enough to cause damage.
The evaluators, two lovely women with backgrounds in nursing and dietetics, spent about fifteen minutes with baby boy. Afterwords, they looked at us and said, if it weren’t for Jacob’s diagnosis, he wouldn’t qualify for this program. Apparently he passed all of his tests and is developmentally on track for a six-week-old. We are going to be seeing a teacher once a month to learn ways to support his continued development, and I am so grateful that this program exists for my sweet froggy and other children with special needs.
We are not out of the woods. Far from it. But we can see the sunshine through the treetops, and that is enough for now.