For the Abshire twins, starting preschool is another celebrated milestone.
Sloan and Dechlan Abshire just started preschool a few weeks ago.
It took a few days to adjust, but now the 3-year-old twins are all smiles when they get on the bus.
“It’s amazing how much they’ve learned in the two weeks they’ve been there” said their mother Melissa Abshire.
Seeing their daughters learning new words and playing with other kids is significant for Melissa and her husband Teddy. They can remember when their daughters each weighted a little more than one pound.
The Abshires, of Reynoldsburg, were expecting to welcome their daughters in mid-May of 2014. But the girls were born on Jan. 18, at 23 weeks and 6 days.
Sloan was in the neonatal intensive care unit at Nationwide Children’s Hospital for 176 days and Dechlan was there for 275 days. When they were able to leave the hospital, both girls had experienced medical complications and were behind in many developmental milestones.
Children’s connected the Abshires with the Licking County Board of Developmental Disabilities (LCBDD), which provided Early Intervention services to both girls.
“They were so medically fragile, having home based services was really helpful in their first two years,” Melissa said.
With help from LCBDD staff members, the girls learned to crawl and pull themselves up and then learned to walk. They also went through feeding therapy, Melissa said.
Along the way, members of LCBDD’s Early Childhood team offered reassurance that the girls would reach their milestones and showed Melissa and Teddy what they could do to help them progress.
“Just knowing you are not alone can really help keep you level headed,” Teddy said.
“They wouldn’t be half way where they are today without (LCBDD),” he said.
The girls are starting to play together more and it’s clear they each have their own personality. Dechlan is sweet and sensitive and Sloan is a leader who loves to talk.
Getting Early Intervention when they were babies not only helped prepare the twins for preschool, but set them up for success going forward, Melissa said.
“It was phenomenal,” she said. “I don’t know what it would have been like without (the board).”
For more information about the services LCBDD provides for children birth to age 3, go to lcountydd.org/parentsupport.