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AIBU: Or is the 2 and a half year development check a bit odd?

(39 Posts)
dashoflime Sun 11-Jan-15 12:13:01

So D's just had his 2 and a half year development check. He's a pretty bright, well behaved little chap so I wasn't expecting much drama.
He got measured and weighed. Bit on the small side but nothing to worry about apparently. Then he built a little tower of bricks. All good so far.
The next thing was a questionaire on behaviour for me to complete. This came out as slightly hyperactive. The health worker said this surprised her as Ds didn't seem hyperactive. I said it surprised me too as DS is actually very calm and placid. It constantly surprises me how placid he is (partly because I really was hyperactive as a child- so that's my benchmark!)
Next thing was a checklist of 50 common words and I had to tick the ones he says. It was under 32, which is the benchmark for intervention. The intervention turned out to be a leaflet about how to talk to your child (some of which was useful) and a follow up appointment in 3 months time.
The health worker told me that in the past, when shed been able to use her judgement, she wouldn't have done the "intervention" as she could "see he was OK" but that these days she has to go strictly by a checklist.
As she was discussing this with me, DS was amusing himself with a jigsaw, saying the names of all the pieces (car, bus, train etc...) and their colours. All of which are words, obviously- just not the words on the list!
The health worker, seeing this, seemed to get a bit frustrated and went over the word list with me again to see if she could bump up the score sufficiently to avoid having to make an appointment. We managed to establish that DS will say "seat" and "chair" and that this would do as an equivalent to "sofa/settee" and that although DS has never said "want" or "need" he is able to ask for something with the phrase "Help please-(eg) milk" I'm not sure if this puts us over the threshold for intervention or not.
Health visitor then suggested that if an appointment is made and I feel DS "doesn't need it" it would be OK not to attend.
It will be a cold day in hell before I follow this advice as I once had a referral made to social services because of "failing to engage with services" (I missed some health appointments through no fault of my own- the hospital was sending letters to the wrong address) and I am now militant about attending everything, whether I feel its necessary or not.
So AIBU to think that this tick box approach is a bit flawed? Or have I just been answering the questions over cautiously? (Health worker seemed to be implying I had- but I was loathed to embroider)

dashoflime Sun 11-Jan-15 12:13:37

I am not worried about his development by the way grin

NobodyLivesHere Sun 11-Jan-15 12:16:46

I think that is a bit weirdly specific yes. But I guess it's better to be overly cautious than to miss kids who do need the intervention. Early intervention with speech and language is always preferable.

sebsmummy1 Sun 11-Jan-15 12:17:31

All I know is that my 26 month old days pretty much nothing, will not play with jigsaws and I'd be amazed if he would sit still long enough to build a brick tower. We are meant to be having a HV check this month but have heard nothing yet and we have already talked about speech delay. I assume if he is going to be assessed at 2.5 as well we will definitely be looking at intervention. The whole thing terrifies me to be honest so I absolutely feel your pain and your son does indeed sound absolutely fine.

BMO Sun 11-Jan-15 12:19:48

I would guess that it wasn't actually a HV you saw, but a nursery nurse - and someone has decided that it is more cost effective to use a NN with a checklist than a HV with professional judgement.

littlebillie Sun 11-Jan-15 12:20:46

As I said trust yourself

NobodyLivesHere Sun 11-Jan-15 12:22:01

At 2.5 my eldest had no words. She's now 11 and absolutely fine, just above average and trundling along nicely. My son is 10 and had tons of words st 2.5, but has a fairly significant langusge impairment and other learning delays. But that early intervention at 3 when I insisted has made huge improvements.

skylark2 Sun 11-Jan-15 12:22:39

I would just go to the appointment. Developing speech is a sliding scale - it's not some sort of hard cutoff as to whether help would be useful or not. If he's at the lower end of developing language (and goodness knows my kids were, one's now at uni and the other hopes to be a doctor) then a session with a speech therapist or whatever will at worst be an afternoon playing with a new adult who has some fun toys and at best be actively helpful.

I was rather defensive when the HV suggested my stammering DS could use some speech therapy. He loved it and I learned some useful things, even though he didn't have a particularly bad stammer.

dashoflime Sun 11-Jan-15 12:26:18

sebsmummy1 I think it happens at different times depending on where you live. In Scotland they do it at 2.5 and I didn't have one at 26 months. I expect your test will be more appropriate for a 26 and will consist of different things. I hope it goes well for you.
I've got a useless memory but I don't think DS was doing any talking or jigsaws at that age either. He seemed to have a little surge in ability a little while ago and suddenly seem very grown up (comparitavely!) all at once!

CecilyP Sun 11-Jan-15 12:27:39

If OP's DS says loads of words but not those specific words, it is just a vocabulary thing not a speech and language thing, (if different words had been included, he would have scored higher) so hard to see what any speech and language intervention would achieve.

RyanAirVeteran Sun 11-Jan-15 12:28:08

Trust yourself.

A friend of a friend has a deaf husband, at the 2.5 check up, they announced that her child was deaf.

Being very deaf aware, she asked them if they would like to re run the test, but first they might like to close the windows as the construction site beneath the window was not helping matters. grin

Child is not deaf, and can hear a sweet packet being opened in the next county. gringrin

NoMontagues Sun 11-Jan-15 12:28:39

Of course a tick-box system is flawed. However I agree with you- just go to the appointment and go through the motions.

Can I just say that your DS's substitution of "Help please" for "I want" is so sweet! He sounds adorable.

dashoflime Sun 11-Jan-15 12:45:33

Yes, I will definitely be attending the appointment. Not least because although I don't feel particularly worried I'm not really qualified to know for sure.
I am sort of considering teaching him the specific words on the list (those that I remember) so we can get it all over and done with. Would that be really pushy and pointless?

thatsenoughelsa Sun 11-Jan-15 12:46:07

A qualified Health Visitor should really be able to use her professional judgement to decide that your DS saying "chair" instead of "sofa" is a complete non-issue. It does certainly sound as though their scoring system is either very flawed or the HV is interpreting it too literally. Either way, I would go to the appointment for your own peace of mind and just to show willing. I doubt you have anything to worry about.

Frusso Sun 11-Jan-15 12:52:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RandallFloyd Sun 11-Jan-15 13:10:51

My DS passed his 2year check with flying colours.

This despite the fact that he didn't look at the HV once, didn't know any colours, had to be carried into the room because he wouldn't walk through the door, could count to 20, obsessively played with one toy the whole time we were there, knew his alphabet (phonic sounds and letter names) and could read some small words, but couldn't tell her where his nose was.

6 months later, after I went to the GP, we were put on the waiting list to be assessed for ASD, SPD, Dyspraxia and global developmental delay.

I'm sure there are lots of fantastic HVs around, and I certainly wouldn't judge them all by the standards of this one, but both she and the test were utterly pointless.

thatsenoughelsa Sun 11-Jan-15 13:16:19

Randall, that sounds so frustrating. My cousin had a similar experience. When she took her DS to his 2 year check she was told he was "way above average" at just about everything. This is a child who doesn't make eye contact and freaks out if anyone tries to touch him. He also doesn't play with toys, if you put him in a room full of toys he just sort of wanders around aimlessly or sits in the middle of the room. She expressed her concerns to the HV but because her checklist was fulfilled she didn't see the problem.

Aeroflotgirl Sun 11-Jan-15 13:29:35

Yanbu at all, its awful that as soon as a baby is born, they are under constant scrutiny and assessment. I know that they want to be sure that children get the help if they need it, but this is going to far. At 2 they are still only little, and are not fully developed. I think its got worse since I had dd 7.5 years who has ASD. Her Paedritrician said that a lot of development takes place between 3-5 years, what the hell are they doing these silly checks at 2. If a parent is concerned, they can go to the HV or GP, it feels like its taken out of the parents hands. My ds is nearly 3, his speech is like a 1 year old, but all the rest he is spot on. He is a happy alert and clever boy, and loves building things out of Duplo and bricks. He is fiercly independent and is more independent than my dd. Preferring to self help, and get his own snacks from the fridge, which he does very well. Its just a load of tick boxing, and trying to pigeon hole children.

HolyTerror Sun 11-Jan-15 13:33:51

Your HV sounds over-literal, or perhaps inexperienced? I did find the 2 year 3 month check (which is what there is in my area) hilarious - we were sent two lengthy questionnaires to fill out in advance and ended up nearly coming to blows as a disgruntled DS refused to walk up and down stairs (so we could see whether he did it the 'right' way), jump with both feet off the ground, or to copy drawing a horizontal and vertical line. He also refused point blank to speak a single word to the HV (he's formidably verbal generally) as the poor woman did her best, getting down on the ground among his toys etc, until, just as she was leaving he said 'Mummy, who was that funny lady playing with my train set?'

Redhead11 Sun 11-Jan-15 13:34:12

My HV was infuriated by DD1 who, when asked if she could see a yellow sock in a picture, answered yes. Apparently she was not supposed to do that, she was supposed to point at it. The HV wouldn't ask her to point out the yellow sock, because she had to ask if the child could see it. The child was not meant to just say yes. There were various other questions along the same lines and by the end of the check (at 2) DD1 was sighing in frustration at this moronic adult.

With DD2 i had a different HV (who was pissed 99% of the time) and she asked me, moments after accepting a plastic cup filled with imaginary tea that DD2 had just 'poured' from the tea pot, if my child engaged in imaginary play...

42bunnytails Sun 11-Jan-15 13:47:13

Also, I think, SLT are trapped in a bit of a chicken and egg situation.

HVs know they have very long waiting lists, so they refer all borderline cases, which means a lot of children (including DD1) are instantly discharged.

Having, of course, used a session that could have been better used and adding to the waiting list still further.

dashoflime Sun 11-Jan-15 13:50:46

'Mummy, who was that funny lady playing with my train set?'

grin Poor HV!

Aeroflotgirl Sun 11-Jan-15 13:55:24

We are seeing SALt for ds, and referral to Paed (dd's one), to see why he's not talking. He does make conversations, but nobody understands him, and intersperses them with proper words. If you ask him questions, he points to the right answer and makes a blooming good effort to speak. The salt said his eye contact is not good father seeing him for 20 mins, well it's find to us, what do you want him to do stare you out! I hate sustaining eye contact for long periods. She said oh I expect him at his age 2.5 years to concentrate on a task for20 mins, blooming get away he's only little fgs. I told her that was very ambitious, I woukdent expect that of a reception school child, she backtracked oh 10 mins then. Poor ds was tired, he had been all morning and lunch in nursery and wanted to go to sleep.

CrohnicallyCold Sun 11-Jan-15 15:09:22

As far as I know it's a 2 - 2.5 year check, so if you're having a check up at 26 months you won't be having one at 2.5 years. Some places like to do them closer to 2 years, so if intervention is necessary it is in place sooner (think about it, 6 months is 20% of a 2.5 year old's life). Other places prefer to do the check closer to 2.5 years, as then fewer children will be identified as needing help.

fromparistoberlin73 Sun 11-Jan-15 15:15:09

It's a funny one as in general the people that attend this don't need help. Whereas the children they do want to see ( maybe being abused, neglected etc . can think of a few examples) won't bother attending . Take with pinch of salt and let it pass is my advice

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