Early Intervention saved my son (and me)

Six hours of weekly therapy consumed my son's life but in a good way.

Early Intervention saved my son (and me)

Before my son turned 2 years old, I knew he needed help. His speech was not clear, even for a toddler. He had poor social skills. Due to having severe acid reflux (resulting in surgery), my boy had an aversion to food, mostly relying on milk for survival.

His gait was unsteady despite beginning to walk at 12 months old. He would constantly bump into other people and objects. He had a hard time going up and down stairs, jumping, and sitting in chairs.

My son was extremely sensitive to his environment. If there were too many people around, or sounds were too loud—he would scream, try to run away, cover his ears and/or flap his hands. Things like bath time were pure torture for my boy.

Life was hard not only for my son but for the rest of the family. We couldn't go out in public without a meltdown occurring. People stared at my boy. Some individuals gave disapproving looks to my husband and me. Life seemed to be filled with tears and frustration.

Then, right before my son's second birthday, I had him assessed for Early Intervention and he qualified for ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis), speech and occupational (OT) therapies.

Six hours of weekly therapy consumed my son's life but in a good way. He quickly bonded with his therapists and looked forward to his sessions. The therapies were not always easy for my boy. However, the therapists' encouragement, enthusiasm and caring ways prompted him to try his hardest to achieve the goals that were designed for him.

Within a couple of months, I noticed an all-around improvement with my son. Within six months, he graduated from the ABA and Speech Early Intervention programs and occupational therapy was reduced from two hours a week to one hour a week.

A year later, at the age of three, my son is a completely different kid. He speaks more clearly. He still needs speech therapy to help with articulation. However, he is now easier to understand which makes him less frustrated and happier overall.

My boy now wants to be around others. He looks forward to play dates and school. Although interactions are awkward at times, he is making an effort to have relationships with others. Whether walking, jumping, sitting or going up and down stairs, his movements are smooth. He is slowly willing to try different foods. Food, instead of milk, is providing his nutrition.

He still receives occupational therapy due to being sensitive to his environment. Thankfully, his reactions to his surroundings aren't as negative as they once were. If my son feels overwhelmed by his environment, he is using his learned positive coping skills to self-soothe. For example, he will say "too loud" which is my cue to take him to a quiet area to calm down. He rarely runs away, screams or flaps his arms anymore.

Bath time is now fun for us. He loves the feel of the warm water on his body and wants to play with his toys. Now, instead of seeing tears and frustration, I hear his laughter which brings me absolute tears of joy.

ABA, Speech and Occupational Early Intervention therapies not only benefited my son but me as well. No one ever envisions having a child with special needs. The journey of raising a child with special needs is hard. Many parenting books don't explain what to do with a child with special needs. The road can feel lonely because not everyone understands what your child, and you, as the parent, are going through.

My son's therapists have been my listening ear when I've been frustrated or sad. They have given me the tools to help my son succeed in his everyday life. They have rejoiced with me when my son achieves a goal and makes progress. They are my superheroes and I dedicate this article to them.

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In This Article

14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With fall in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in outside-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Detective set

Plan Toys detective set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


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Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Happiest Baby: Baby sleep solutions designed by the experts

Created by renowned pediatrician, baby sleep expert and (as some might say) lifesaver Dr. Harvey Karp, Happiest Baby has been helping new parents understand and nurture their infants for close to two decades. Building on the success of his celebrated books and video The Happiest Baby on the Block and The Happiest Toddler on the Block he's developed groundbreaking, science-based product solutions that conquer a new parent's top stressor—exhaustion.

WSEL Bags: Dad-designed diaper bags that think of everything

WSEL stands for work smart, enjoy life—an ethos we couldn't agree with more. Founded by a stay at home dad who struggled to find a diaper bag that he not only wanted to use, but one that would last far beyond the baby years, these premium, adventure-ready backpacks are ideal for everything from errands to week-long getaways.

Codex Beauty: Exceptionally effective sustainable skin care

Codex Beauty's line of sustainable plant-based skin care blends the science of plant biology with biotech innovations, to create clinically proven, state-of-the-art products for all skin types. They're all vegan, EWG and Leaping Bunny verified and created in collaboration with Herbal Scientist Tracy Ryan who uses concepts dating back to the 8th century leveraging plants like sea buckthorn and calendula flower. Not only are we totally crushing on the innovative formulas that are in the packaging but we're in love with the sustainable sugarcane-derived tubes as well.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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100 unusual + surprising baby name ideas

From Adelia to Ziggy.

Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.

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