When my son turned 2 I received a letter inviting us to an assessment to check his development. As an experienced mother I am reluctant to over assess small children because I believe every child develops in their own time, especially at such a tender age.
An appointment was made for me, which I missed because I merely forgot. However, the same day of the assessment I missed, I received a phone call from a very annoyed Health Visitor. I could sense her frustration as she went through my lack of cooperation and engagement with their services since my son was born. I smiled to myself. She proceeded to ask if this was my 1st child and I informed her my eldest was 16 and that my youngest was my 3rd child. She raised her voice and told me “things have changed since then, we need to get him ready for school”. I rolled my eyes and reluctantly agreed to another appointment which she kindly arranged at my home.
On the day of the assessment, the Health Visitor arrived, albeit late, and Dad also sat in to listen. She tried to play down the importance of this assessment which was emphasised to me during the phone call made by the other Health Visitor. I sat there acting as though I was a willing participant in this process and put on my friendly demeanour.
The lady proceeded to ask us questions about what he can do. So I confirmed he was walking at 8 months, he can run, jump, climb the stairs with alternate steps, shows love and empathy etc. Then she started asking questions around his motor skills whether or not he could dress himself. I told her that he cannot dress himself. At that point the look on her face told me that this was a problem. She looked concerned. I casually asked “so do you expect a two year old to dress themselves”, she tells me yes…..
So she proceeded with her questioning and she produces a picture of a stick man. She asks me if he could tell me who it was. I was confused, but I told her to ask him. So she approaches my son and points to the stick man and asks him “who’s this?” My son looked at me, then looked at her and said something in his baby language. I wish I advised him to go no comment! I asked her what response she expected and the lady advised me that he should say something like “mummy or daddy”. Again, she looks concerned. At this point I’m annoyed, but I keep it to myself and Dad gets up to go to the kitchen because I know he can sense my vibe. “Really” I said “mummy or daddy… ok”.
She goes on to ask if he could follow dual actions, for example, can you get your shoes down stairs and coat which is upstairs? I was like, no. he. can’t! through gritted teeth. This woman had me feeling like this boy had a disability I didn’t even know about. I just wanted her to leave.
In the end she assessed that we do too much for him and we treat him like a baby! I thought I would offend her more by telling her that he is still breastfed. The woman’s adverse facial expressions were shocking. She told me that if we wanted help to refine his motor and language skills there are sessions I could attend. She left and I felt terrible. Then his Dad says “well, if you stopped breastfeeding he would have the chance to say more”. Whatever!
I took my baby to nursery and I was so upset. I explained the assessment to the headteacher and his key worker. They confirmed that these Health Visitors are known for their 30 minute assessment of condemnation. They confirmed that he is fit, well and developing just fine! I mean what two year old describes a stick man as mummy or daddy? Photos he can do, but not stick men, no!
I harassed everyone with my vexatiousness at this woman and I should have just followed my instincts and avoided the assessment. If I thought something was wrong I would seek help.
Have you been in the same situation as me? Let me know.