Feeling better about developmental milestones

We’ve been tracking A-‘s progress using the Nipissing developmental milestones and assistance from a nurse and a home visitor through the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program.

Toronto Public Health had referred us to the program when we were concerned about how A- might be affected by multiple congenital abnormalities and their implications – in particular, monocular vision, and multiple exposures to general anesthesia because of all the diagnostics (which some research flagged as associated with a higher risk of learning difficulties).

In some areas in the US, monocular vision automatically qualifies children for early intervention services with therapists who can help with vision exercises or orientation and mobility training. Some parents have found them very helpful, and some have found their kids do fine without therapy. Here, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind assessed A-‘s vision and decided she does not require any services for now. It’s good news, although I feel that I might have to be vigilant so that I can catch potential issues even without having a specialist track her progress.

The Nipissing developmental screens cover general capabilities. I’m not sure what to watch out for in terms of vision, and the caseworkers at CNIB didn’t have any specific resources or tips for monocular vision aside from checking if she’s cutting corners or banging into things.

A- seems to be on track with most of her physical milestones, which is a relief. A- enjoys putting things into containers and taking them out again. If I give her a block, she’ll pass it from her left hand to her right hand, and then she’ll put it in the bin. (We can tidy up quite a lot of Duplo with this process!) And this week, she actually stacked blocks on top of other blocks with a bit of guidance and turn-taking – hooray! She’s still a little quiet and reserved in company, which is totally okay. Now that the holidays are over, I’ll take her to neighbourhood drop-in programs more often so that she can see other kids.

Our home visitor suggested working on language by labeling whatever she’s interested in with single words: “Book!” “Ball!” “Cat!” She also recommended helping A- slowly get used to independent play by letting her take the lead and sitting close by. We’ll try those tips over the next week or so.

Before having A-, I hadn’t spent a lot of time around small kids, so I find the tips and interaction modeling quite helpful. I imagine other people find parenting more intuitive, but I appreciate all the help I can get. I’m glad the City of Toronto has this program with all sorts of pamphlets and activities!

  • grep72

    Just remember: the ‘biggest’ milestone is A’s smile. There are all kinds of metrics out there, but A being happy, smiling, and playing with gusto: that is the only one that counts.

    Re: your earlier comment to me: What might be simple and obvious to you, might be new and novel to me. Thankfully, I am smart enough to understand I may “not know”, and humble enough to ask “What do you think?”

    Funnily, I found you looking for a very niche thing ( Emacs/ Org), but I stay engaged with you at a much more meta- level ( life views and kids).

    • Yeah, she’s an awesome baby. =)

      I’m partly learning more about this in case I need to advocate for her getting whatever services she needs, and partly also because the science and psychology behind early child development and education is fascinating. It helps me observe and appreciate her growth better, and it gives me the words to describe and remember what she’s doing.

      I like Stoic philosophy’s reminder about the difference between what I can control (me) and what I can’t (everything else, including her and her circumstances). She doesn’t have to hit all the milestones early or even on time, although I’m happy to use that data to prioritize my own learning and exploration. It’s great that the nurse and the home visitor suggest a few activities tailored to A-‘s developmental stage. That way, we’re not overwhelmed with all the options, and we can learn a little bit at a time.

      Thanks for reading and for sharing your own experiences!