Pre-K Graduation Extra Special for East Meadow Girl

Maria Perret has had to overcome several challenges already in her young life.

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.

Claudine June 08, 2012 at 12:54 PM
As Maria's mom I certainly hope this will enable other parents to listen to their gut instincts and not be afraid to say "hey something isn't right lets look into this". So many parents aren't even aware that there is an issue but have a gut feeling something isn't right. Go with that instinct and don't be afraid to get your young child tested. It may be nothing, or as in our case, there may be a lot more going on that with early treatment, can be corrected before starting school.
kristin pappas June 08, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Maria is an adorable little girl who has overcome many obstacles because her mommy followed her instincts. This story should encourage others to take the necessary steps for their children, if needed. Parents know best!!
marion santamaria June 08, 2012 at 01:45 PM
I am a great aunt to Maria and I see a wonderful change in her in the past years. Thanks to Maria's parents for always seeking for help and getting it. Every parents knows their child. Keep up the good work Maria.
ender wiggins June 08, 2012 at 01:56 PM
I would like to know what pediatrician you used in the beginning because i would like to avoid them. They should have taken this serous even without your insistence. Good for you for sticking up for your daughter. Too many parents are afraid to speak up. Informed parents are better parents
Claudine June 08, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Actually Wiggins, her pediatrian came highly recommended. And while it is true that some children talk later and walk later, I knew my child and still had to push to get her tested. I was suprised when we were told it was more than speech! Things came into play we never, knew about or even thought about. Cognitive skills, play skills, muscle tone etc. I wasn't that informed actually, I had a gut feeling and if I hadn't listened she wouldn't be doing half the things she does currently. My motto is the parent is responsible for the child and if the parent feels something isn't right, they, not the doctors are 99% correct. Parents live with the child, not the docs and teachers and most of them do know their child very well. If Maria didn't get all the help early on, she would be so very far behind and that hurts a lot more than having Maria attend a special school and getting help.
Alexie Moskowski June 08, 2012 at 03:02 PM
I am so proud of you Maria! Hope to see you and your mom at the baseball field soon!
April Farleman June 11, 2012 at 12:13 PM
My son is 5 years old. He also is diagnosed with PDD-nos, adhd, n odd. It has definitely been a struggle but definitely worth. He just graduated pre-k the beginning of June and will b starting kindergarten in the fall also. He went thru early intervention and then to the IU and then to head start for preschool n pre-k.
Michael Ganci (Editor) June 11, 2012 at 12:15 PM
Thanks for sharing April! MG
Claudine June 12, 2012 at 02:01 PM
April, lets have a chat. You never know what u might learn from other parents. FYI there are only 4 little leage teams for children like ours. There is also a special cheer/gymnastics in bellmore. Does your son also have some low tone as well? I'm learning that children such as ours may also have low muscle tone as well. I want to start a blog and make it very public so I can get info from other parents and spread the word around what we can do to help our children have a typical childhood. Some parents could learn from us as well. Also, with all the cutbacks, success stories are very much needed so programs don't get cut. Thats my biggest scare. There are so many kids like ours who can benefit from help early on and then they can go on to typical schools, without early help, they may not be able to achieve as much as they could had they received early intervention.
Claudine June 12, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Oh congratulations to your family. Getting him to where he is takes a lot of work and patience on your part. Maria is starting a self contained kindergarten. Is your son doing the same? My daughter spoke and walked later than other children. Did you have those issues as well?


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