I’ve been trying to rearrange Little Mr’s 12 month health check with our health visitor team for a few months now. He was originally invited for an appointment on a Wednesday when I work all day so rang them to rearrange and they cancelled the appointment and said they would rearrange for a Friday. Another letter comes through the post for another Wednesday appointment. Repeat the phone call and again, another letter comes through the post for a Wednesday. Head. Wall.
Giving up on ever getting a Friday appointment, earlier this week with hubby being off enjoying the school holidays, I asked him to take Little Mr to our local baby clinic to get him weighed and to take along the appointment letter and questionnaire they asked us to complete on Little Mr’s development.
The questionnaire was aimed at the development of a 14 month old baby and asked questions in relation to his motor skills, his speech and other general development. I had to answer the questions with either Yes, No or Sometimes. At the end of the questionnaire, there’s a tally box where the health visitor would add up the number of yes, no or sometimes answers and Little Mr would have his 14 month old score and then she would discuss his development with us. Completely wrong in my opinion.
Little Mr isn’t walking yet. He’s standing up, cruising and crawling everywhere but will not walk independently. I don’t have a problem with it at all as I’m a big believer that he’ll do it when he’s ready but the health visitor was concerned. She told hubby that he had a slight delay in his gross motor skills and wrote in his red book that she would make a referral to the health visiting team to check on him in 6 weeks time. This is the same health visiting team that said they would check on him back in November to check his progress with crawling. They never rang. So I don’t have a huge amount of confidence in their opinion on my son’s development, that they took from a questionnaire. This is the same health visiting team who told me to make an effort in taking Little Mr to baby clinic 10 days after my c-section, despite being unable to walk the 2 mile to baby clinic in the snow with an infected section scar.
Wouldn’t it have been better to sit with him for twenty minutes and let him play. Watch how he moves around and stands up and plays with the toys rather than me ticking the boxes of a questionnaire. What if I was one of those parents that ticked yes to everything when in fact he didn’t do any of it. They wouldn’t know any different. I know different health authorities check little ones progress in different ways as friends with children of the same age have had different experiences. My experience doesn’t fill me with any confidence that I would want their opinion on any concerns I may have in the future.
As I said before I’m not concerned with Little Mr’s inability to walk independently. He’s showing signs that he wants to and cruises around the house, often standing independently for brief moments before collapsing onto his bottom. Isn’t a questionnaire a cop out for watching and spending time with children? I dread to think what would happen to the children that really have issues but go unnoticed due to parents that don’t want to make a fuss or in the worse case, don’t give a hoot anyway!
What’s your experience of your health visitors? Do you find them useful or just irritating?