On Saturday we had a nice morning out as family. We did some shopping & went out for some lunch. When we came home the mood was ruined slightly. While we were gone the post had been delivered & there was a letter from Freddies health visitor.
At the top of the letter written in big bold letters was 2 year development review.
My heart did sink a bit. Did our health visitor really think it was appropriate to invite the parents of a child with severe global developmental delays to a review on his development. To compare him to an average 2 year old. It did get worse when I looked at the leaflet that came with the letter to find it was full of things that a typical 2 year old should be doing at this age. Some of the words that jumped out at me were
Able to climb stairs
Beginning toilet training
All things that I’m well aware that most 2 year olds are able to do. All things that for Freddie are a long way of. All things that I really don’t want to be reminded that Freddie can’t do.
As the parent of a child with developmental delays living with your head slightly buried in the sand works well. Developmental milestones have to be forgotten if we are ever to appreciate Freddie for who he is. Hes unique, hes funny, hes HAPPY.
While the head in the sand technique works well most of the time, receiving a letter like this is like someone pulling your out of that sand & saying “LOOK! Actually this is what he should be doing, of course he should be walking hes 2!” It’s a letter that wasn’t needed. And while i’m sure it wasn’t sent to us meaning to cause any harm or offence, it unfortunately has.
I assume it’s a standard letter that’s sent out to every 2 year old, but I feel there should be something on the administrative systems that stops letters like this being sent out to children who are seen by a paediatrician for their development, for children who are too delayed to need this review. I am going to cancel this appointment as for Freddie it will be pointless, Freddie is along way off being a typical 2 year old.
We are happy to celebrate the small steps and not compare him to other 2 year olds. Seeing Freddies speech & language therapist & being overjoyed to be told that he seems more alert or seeing his diatician & seeing how well his feeding is coming along. These are the important steps for us. Freddie is no typical 2 year old. He is who he is, a unique little boy. He will develop at his own pace, one day he may walk or he may never. But as his mum I will be there every step of the way to shout & cheer for what he can do & not to sit through a development review feeling sad at what he can’t do.