When my first daughter was 6 months old, I noticed that all the babies in our playgroup were moving around more than she was. Some were crawling, some stayed in the “take-off” position on all fours, and all were rolling. My daughter, Shoshana, was happily on her back, looking up at all the moms in the room.
As a first-time mom, I actively tracked her milestones, and it was becoming clear that she was missing key milestones. Our pediatrician advised us to start with Early Intervention — the state-provided program for children with developmental delays and disabilities.
It took nearly three months for us to get enrolled because the state was so overwhelmed with cases, and another two months for her to get assessed, another four months to get matched with a provider, and then another two weeks to get to her first appointment. At this point, she was 15 months old and still not crawling, which meant she had to spend more time in services to catch up. I felt so discouraged, stressed, and helpless — and like I was failing my daughter.
Once she was in services, the 30-minute, once-a-week visit wasn’t helping enough, so I tried to find a private provider to supplement her care. I got a list of names from the pediatrician and Facebook parent groups, made endless calls, and got on every waitlist I could. It took another two months to get an opening.
The lack of in-network providers led to out-of-network reimbursement challenges, inconsistent coverage, and mounting bills. Some weeks we’d get billed $85. The next week, for the exact same session, we were billed $135. Of course, as parents, we would do anything to help our daughter get what she needs, but at the end of a nine-month period we were sitting on more than $4,000 in bills. We couldn’t make sense of it.
I wasn’t alone in this. I talked with dozens of parents who experienced the same thing: frustrating wait times, expensive options, and a lack of clear, trustworthy information on how to navigate their child’s needs. Covid only seemed to amplify the problem. There were more kids seeking care, as many parents opted to withhold attending preschool or starting services during the first year of the pandemic. There were fewer state and town evaluators and providers, as many left the workforce during that time period. This problem is very real, growing, and another challenge for so many parents.
We’re living at a time when technology enables us to book a flight, work with teammates across time zones, and view real-time content from all around the world, all with just a few clicks of a button. We’re so connected, yet starting the process of connecting your own child to timely services is archaic, extremely time-consuming, and frustrating.
It shouldn’t be this difficult to get your child the care they need to thrive.
Over the last 15+ years, I’ve seen from the inside how great technology is made, and now I’m on a mission to help parents find the right developmental specialists for their children in a way that’s simple, affordable, and trustworthy. That’s why I started Coral Care — one easy place to connect families with local, vetted childhood developmental specialists who are available to start right away and who take your insurance.
We offer parents the ability to directly book with the specialist of their choice or to work with a licensed early childhood specialist who will help you find the right pathway for you, in case you don’t know where to start. Our providers are Massachusetts-based licensed pediatric specialists, including speech-language pathologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, behavioral therapists, and more.
It’s so special to be able to launch Coral Care in Massachusetts — my home state! I’d love to invite you to Coral Care so that you don’t need to go through my experience and so that your child gets what they need to grow healthily and happily. Please find us at joincoralcare.com to be matched with great care — or reach out here. I’d love to talk with you and hear about your experiences as well.