|Hailey ready to rock her appointment!|
Originally, Hailey was scheduled to meet at the Thomas Center every 6 months. Unfortunately, the way the appointment is billed and how my insurance pays, the appointment is quite pricey. We see the same therapists privately that would evaluate her during the appointment so we only go once a year. The purpose of the appointment is to get an overall check of how Hailey is doing in all aspects: medically, socially, gross motor, fine motor, speech, nutrition, etc. I know that people have different opinions of the appointment and the overall appointment can be quite overwhelming for some parents and some of the children. Generally, the appointment will consist of vitals taken of your child and a quick question and answer. Similar to what you expect from a well-check with your pediatrician. In a group setting, you will meet with a developmental pediatrician, speech therapist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, nutritionist, social worker and a nurse. This latest appointment of Hailey's (3 weeks ago), the physical therapist was out so the OT took over her evaluation. In addition to all the others, we had a resident attend the appointment. Hailey wasn't as friendly and cooperative with him as the others.
We were early for our appointment and surprisingly we were called back right away. The nurse weighed Hailey, checked her length and measured her head. She then took us into a room for questions.
|I'm sure I can help the nurse with this paperwork!|
She asked us to wait there for a few minutes until the group was ready for us. About 10 minutes passed and the nurse returned. She said they were tied up in another evaluation and the child was not cooperating so Hailey and I would need to wait awhile longer. The room we were in was small and extremely warm. She brought Hailey a few toys to occupy her.
|Hmmm...the nurse is gone, I'm sure she won't mind if I rearrange her desk!|
About 15 minutes later, the team arrived. I think the room was a little small for all of us, but maybe it was just me. I was extremely worried that Hailey wouldn't cooperate with the evaluation because of our long wait time. I was partly right. There were parts that Hailey 100% knows how to do, but refused. Instead she would smile, stand up and walk away. Fortunately, the speech therapist is one who knows Hailey so she "knows" what Hailey can and cannot do. She has seen it and heard it. My child was quite the stinker. One part was a giant flashcard with several black images on it. The speech therapist asked her what do you ride on. Instead of pointing to the bike (the correct answer), Hailey signed "car" and made car noises. Smart little cookie. Hailey refused to stack blocks, but fortunately, I took a picture of her stacking while we were waiting. I think I almost choked when the OT pulled out a handful of coins and a regular piggy bank. We've never tried that at home. I'm not purposely giving Hailey a choking hazard. I thought for sure she wouldn't get them, but that little girl rocked it. She put them all in the bank. I was impressed with that one.
|The nurse let Hailey play with this light up toy...she was mesmerized by it!|
At the beginning of the appointment, Dr. O asked how long Hailey had been walking. I replied that she had been walking a couple of weeks before her 2nd birthday. Dr. O continued asking me questions while observing Hailey with the therapists. About 20 minutes later, Dr. O looked at me with a little of a shocked look on her face. She said, "She just turned two." It was a combination of revelation and question. I nodded. She followed with, "She is doing extremely well." My mom heart expanded. Sometimes with all the guilt mom's hold, it is nice to hear you are doing okay.
After everyone evaluated, the group left the office to confer with one another. A few minutes later, they came back in with their recommendations and results. I never did ask where Hailey fell with gross motor. To be honest, it isn't high on my radar anymore. Hailey is walking. We have her walking as much as we can when we are out and about. Some days it is nearly impossible to have her walk places because we are on time constraints. She is a "looker". She wants to explore everything and speak to everyone. Eventually we need to work on jumping, running, skipping, etc, but right now we need to build up those muscles by walking more and playing outside. The OT said she is right on track for fine motor skills. We need to keep working on it. Play with sidewalk chalk this summer. Keep working with crayons and pencils. She doesn't recommend private therapy at this point. The speech therapist said with receptive language, Hailey is at age level. Proving that even though my little girl doesn't speak much, she knows what is going on. She understands. With expressive language, Hailey tested at 18 months. Unfortunately, the testing model they use does not count sign language. If they counted the 50+ words she signs, she would be at age level there, too.
I left the appointment with several recommendations from each professional in the appointment. We have no medical concerns at this point so Dr. O said we could come back in 2 years if we would like. More than likely, we will come back next year, right as Hailey is transitioning into preschool. At that point, we will probably pick up OT and alternate appointments with them and PT in addition to our speech therapy. We are also considering having Hailey's sleep study done next year at 3. She doesn't show huge signs of having apnea, but for some reason I'm paranoid about it.
|Hailey likes to stay busy while waiting!|
This week we received the written follow-up for Hailey's appointment. They are all very good about writing the summary treating Hailey as a person and not a number. She was described as "a delightful little girl who is doing extremely well.", "engages beautifully in a social environment", "beautiful little girl" and "engaging". I generally loathe the follow-up summary because it depresses me. This one was good with the exception of one part. According to the nutritionist, Hailey's weight increased too much from 1 year to 2 years. Dr. O didn't seem too concerned with it because Hailey has just started walking and we just recently switched from whole milk to 1%. We watch portion sizes because Hailey doesn't seem to have the "I'm full" trigger or she hasn't learned to listen to it. We'll keep an eye on it, but most of my kids thinned down once they started walking.
I'm glad that we have a wonderful Down syndrome association in the area and we have the Down syndrome clinic at Children's. I hope they are a wonderful resource for others as well.