Monday, February 20, 2012

Developmental Check and Preschool options

We were meant to have Maddy's 18 month developmental check up two weeks ago but had to reschedule as she was sick. We went this morning and had a VERY thorough check-up - we were at the hospital for two hours in total! 

Here is a quick summary:

Maddy's height is 64cm (25 inches) and weight is 8.7kg (19lb)
Gross motor development is at around 14-15 months, also fine motor development is around the same
Speech is around 8 months.

Nothing really unexpected there - if I'd been asked to describe her progress, I would have said around the same. Her gross and fine motor development is of course delayed due to the physical impairments of her dwarfism. BUT she really is doing brilliantly, given her limitations. The doctor (neurologist) sees no cause for concern and was very impressed with how innovative she is. Maddy knows what she wants to do and finds a way to do it, even if it is not the conventional way. 

Her speech has for a long time been my area of main concern, but speaking to the doctor today really helped calm a lot of my fears. She is confident that once the hearing issues are addressed, Maddy will catch up. 

The doctor also recommended that for preschool, Maddy would be best suited for a "special needs kindergarten" that can provide for her physical needs and offer her all the therapy that she needs, and even more! Such places are difficult to get into here in Hong Kong and we have already been on the waiting list for about a year. We probably will finally get a place within another 6-12 months. 

In the meantime, Maddy recently started at playgroup - a parent-assisted class that she goes to three mornings a week. This will lead into nursery when she is two years old. Usually, at this age, children start going by themselves without a parent but the school has already told me that unless Maddy can be "independent in the classroom", she will need for one of us to accompany her. 

What she needs to be able to do is:
- move around the classroom safely 
- get an activity tray from the shelves
- carry it back to the table 
- seat herself at the table
- clean up after she is finished, returning the tray to the shelves.

It doesn't sound like a lot but it seems miles away from where Maddy is now. So before September, we will either need to figure out a way for Maddy to do all of the above (possibly by using a little cart to help her), or one of us will need to go with her.

It's hard to know whether at this age, it is better to fight and push and work hard so that Maddy can go to school with her typically-developing peers (and probably need to schedule the necessary therapy on the side), or whether it is better for Maddy to be in an environment that is specifically focused on helping her with her physical and speech issues, giving her all the therapy that she could need (but she would be in a class with kids with developmental delays - most of them cognitively delayed). I see huge benefits in both options, but I know that the time is coming when we will need to choose between the two...


  1. Kimberly O'DonnellFebruary 20, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    Praying for you guys as you cross each stepping stone for the best of your second little angel.... God bless,

  2. oh you are doing so well! I remember my little guy only being 9kg at 18 months due to all the reflux and other health issues!

    I'd suggest you read "the kindness of children" and use that to arm yourself when negotiating the nursery school options. People tend to forget it is not just adults that can help kids that need help, but their peers can also be incredibly helpful and kind. Especially when they are young (apparently grade 3 is the cut off when they get socialized out of being nice)....