Maria Perret’s parents knew something was different about their daughter very early on.
Perret, who is now 5 years old and lives in East Meadow, never crawled or babbled like other babies. Her parents had problems with her nursing, sucking on bottles and Perret never used a pacifier.
“Those should have been signs something wasn't right,” Claudine Perret, Maria’s mother, said. “When at about 13 months she still wasn't walking, I started bugging the pediatrician.”
Maria also struggled with sippy cups, as fluid often got stuck in her mouth, and that often caused her to gag.
“I was told that some children don't talk until 3 to 5 years of age, and that some children start walking at up to 18 months,” Claudine added. “But I told them that I'm her mom and something just wasn't right.”
Perret was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD/NOS), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
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At 19 months, Maria started receiving services at home, including physical, speech, play/special and occupational. When she was 2 years and 3 months old, Maria’s parents enrolled her in the early intervention program at Little Village in Seaford.
“I pushed for her to get into a school setting and from the start at age 2 I put her onto a school bus,” Claudine said. “I could have had therapies at home, but thought it was the best thing for her to get with other children.”
After a lot of work, Maria has made true progress, as she is now conversational for the first time in her life. She plays sports and video games quite often as well.
“Moral to the story is if you feel something isn't right with especially your baby and toddler, push to get them tested,” Claudine said. “We thought just speech and was surprised when Maria got the full services. We learned that there was a lot going on that we never even thought about.”
Now, Maria is set to graduate from Little Village on June 21, and she will attend in a self-contained kindergarten classroom in the fall.
“Don't be afraid to ask for help,” Claudine said. “Look at my daughter, look how far she has come. Imagine if I had waited, she would have lost years of services and would be much farther behind than what she is now. Maria probably wouldn't be in a self-contained kindergarten class. She would probably still be in little village come September."
What do you think of Maria’s story? Tell us in the comments.