Soon after I had Nolan, I realized he was strongly favoring one side of his head. He always looked to his right, slept with his head turned right, and I was beginning to notice a small flat spot. I remember Annabelle favoring one side, too, and we had worked with her to turn the other way. We started moving Nolan so he had to look the other way, for toys and such, and when he went to bed. I quickly fixed any head tilt I saw, but I still was noticing his flat spot, despite how much he loved and how often he did tummy time. At his 2 month appointment, I brought it up to the doctor.
Forcing him to turn his head.
We had the PA for his appointment, and she honestly didn’t mention anything, until I brought it up. She looked at his head and said it was a bit flat, but to concentrate on tummy time, and we would re-check it at 4 months to discuss early intervention and being sent for measurements. Well, I have known about early intervention and thought I’d get the ball rolling. But, in case you didn’t know…
Early intervention is available for babies (age birth-3) and they offer a free evaluation and services to ensure the kiddos are where they should be. Your doctor can recommend you to them, or you can call. I called the Alliance for Infants and Toddlers and discussed my concerns. Nolan was still favoring one side of his head and I wanted to try to do anything that would prevent a helmet. Obviously if he needs one, I’m not opposed, but I wanted to utilize all my options first.
I called when he was probably 2.5/3 months old. I can’t remember specifics, but it was a Friday, so I heard back Monday. We had arranged for a case manager to come about 2 weeks later, and we filled out paperwork at that initial visit. She then scheduled for a PT to come evaluate (we felt it was physical therapy he would need for his neck muscles to strengthen so he could utilize both sides and not favor one side) and that was about a week and a half later.
Showing me an exercise to help strengthen his side
The evaluation took about 2 hours, though he wasn’t needed for all of it. The Physical Therapist was very nice and gentle with him. Nolan actually loved her! She did various things on the floor with him and then asked Aaron and I a bunch of questions. She felt his neck and did say he had a slight Torticollis and then went through all the other questions. Here’s what is funny/odd to me. He technically qualified under eating because he can’t hold a bottle or something crazy like that. Basically, there were 3 questions and if you can’t do 2 (I think), then you qualify. Obviously he was too young to hold his own bottle (and something else I forget!) but he qualified for that initially. However, given the torticollis and concerns with that, you can choose any service you’d like to receive once you qualify. So he qualifies for eating, but doesn’t need to have anything related to eating on his plan. Weird, right? Regardless, we chose PT. The physical therapist there that day discussed how his head was slightly flat, he favored his right side, and he had a slight lean to his left because of the neck muscles. She made goals for us, and the Individualized Family Service Plan was completed before she left.
I heard from our case manager about 2 days later, and she first came to our house about a month ago. That’s the best part- they come to your house! There is no need to head anywhere for the appointments- they can go wherever. I really liked our physical therapist, but the first appointment is a lot of paperwork. She got to know Nolan, and did say his Torticollis isn’t major at all, but is slightly there. She gave me about 3 different exercises to work on with him, as well as helped to show us how we can hold him and how he can sit in things to avoid the lean he was doing.
His awesome therapist showing a way to hold him to help stretch his neck muscles
Overall, the process was smooth, but definitely don’t think you can call and get services started that week. It is a process, which means multiple steps are needed so it can take a little bit. We’ve had PT for about a monthish, and as of yesterday, we’re down to once a month. His Torticollis is much better and you really have to look to see him favoring a side or to feel his tight neck muscles. We will do once a month for a few months, continue stretches, and see where things go from there! I would highly recommend calling if there’s anything you are concerned with (feeding, walking, crawling, speech, etc.) There are so many programs out there to help.
We checked in at his four month appointment, and the doctor said his head and neck are both looking great. I know his was minor and may have resolved itself, but I don’t regret calling and starting PT for one second.
If you have any questions about Early Intervention, let me know! I’m happy to answer any.