Tuesday, February 24, 2015

(Late Night Shenanigans) ... What Happens While Filling out Early Childhood Screening Forms

I still can’t believe that our daughter is 3 years and 11 months old. How did that happen?! And, later today (because yes, I’m burning way past the midnight oil), we have her early childhood screening.

Like any good mom, I’m filling the forms out, er…an hour ago.

I think that early childhood screenings are great and understand their importance for helping children to receive early interventions that will help them to succeed. I know something existed like these when I was little, but I think it was closer to kindergarten (or at least I know I remember it). I doubt that they went into as much depth, and some of that depth is necessary.


I have a few issues. 

Well, yes, my own issues. But, here I'm referring to issues with questions on these forms.

My first frustration when filling out the forms was this question: “Name/s and frequency of prescription medication, tobacco/alcohol/chemical use during pregnancy.”

Before you start to wonder, I did not smoke nor do heavy drugs nor have glasses of alcohol during my pregnancy.

But, I am on prescription medications. I am now and was then. I have an underactive thyroid, that gets me a prescription med. ** Yes, I was on prescription medications during my pregnancy, but I personally don’t think that it is anyone’s business (besides everyone reading my blog, of course). To me, as long as my OB/my child’s pediatrician was aware that I was taking the medication, really, those are the only people who really need to know. I’ll admit that I got a little huffy about that question. Just ask my husband! I **might** be a little hormonal right now, but seriously, this question, to me, is really bothersome (if you can’t tell).

**Really, the heart of that issue is that people struggle with diseases like anxiety and depression. (Yes, me). Medications exist and have been studied to demonstrate their impact on babies in utero. Some medications have been shown not to be safe. Other medications have been studied with limited or no connections being made to the medication and potentially less than ideal outcomes in infants/research animals. People may debate whether or not they think a mom should be taking these medications. When the choice is between having a mom who can function as a normal human being because she is on medications (and which OB/Psychiatrist/Pediatrician are aware) or one who is anxious/depressed especially because she stopped taking medications which helped to control her anxiety/depression…Mental illness is a huge illness that our society doesn’t want to address. Please, let’s start talking about it! Maybe this question didn’t have anything to do with my little rant, but really, who are they targeting with this question, and what is the response that they are hoping for/what information do they think they will learn that will be helpful in determining a child’s potential/areas of concern? Please don’t put any more guilt on a mom than she already might put on herself. (And, if you know of other reasons why this question might be asked, please educate me! I mean that with full sincerity).

Stepping off of that soap box…

My next frustration (or as Miss S pronounces it frus ter a tion. Which, that’s right, my sweets) is the next question: "Did child go home with mother?"

First of all, it’s a poorly written sentence. Beyond that, what do they really mean by that question? What they really mean, I think, is: did your child spend any time in the NICU after birth? Was your child discharged from the hospital after birth to the birth parent(s)/adoptive parent(s)/other?

I’d rather they just ask those two questions.

And, finally, I’ll admit. I always thought I would be one of those moms who wrote down every moment so that I could look back at a calendar (or better yet a really well organized baby book) and could know exactly when my baby did x, y, and z. 

But, I'm not. I can't answer off of the top of my head when she sat alone, talked in sentences, stood with support, or spoke first words.

I know when she rolled over because that is documented by a video thanks to my iPhone. She walked for the first time 1 year after her original due date. (That is just stored away randomly in my overcrowded overtired memory.) When she sat up alone? Well, I know what she was wearing, does that count? When she talked in sentences, um…does uh oh count? I found the calendar where I marked that milestone. Stood with support? I have no idea, and while I may have written that down, who knows where the box would be that has the calendar/journal with that milestone. Spoke 1st words? Ditto. I probably have most of those things documented somewhere. But, after 2 moves in the last 6 months, I have only a potential idea of where that might be (in 2nd kiddos room in the closet, and I’m for sure not going to look for it right now.) And, speaking of 2nd kiddo, when did he do any of the above? I cannot tell you by memory alone. I hang my head (especially as the 2nd kiddo in my family) in shame.

I wonder how many parents can answer those questions. Huge kudos to you (especially if it can be done just by memory)! I might be a little bit jealous…

How about you? Do you remember when your almost 4 year old/4 year old reached his or her milestones?

I really probably should go to bed now.

1 comment :

  1. Just a though as an OT that works in the NICU with substance exposed newborns, it is common for them to have learning difficulties that are often not apparent until school age whether they are sensory, motor or attention tasks. I still don't agree with the way the question was asked though. I think they could have worded it along the lines of "was your child exposed to alcohol or drugs during pregnancy?" that way they are aware to watch for deficits but not be so judgemental of the mother before they have even met them. just what I've learned, miss you in AZ! :)