Use in­tu­ition on child’s progress

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Health - Dr Su­san Cann

IS my child nor­mal?

A ques­tion asked by every par­ent at some stage in their child’s de­vel­op­ment.

It is im­pos­si­ble not to com­pare your child with oth­ers – whether that be sib­lings at the same age or friends from day­care or moth­ers’ groups.

We need to re­mem­ber that in­fants and chil­dren will all de­velop at dif­fer­ent rates de­pend­ing on so many dif­fer­ent fac­tors, both ge­netic and en­vi­ron­men­tal, but what should you do if you have a real and per­sist­ing con­cern over your child’s de­vel­op­ment?

Mul­ti­ple stud­ies will tell us that early di­ag­no­sis and in­sti­ga­tion of ther­a­pies is es­sen­tial in de­vel­op­men­tal dis­or­ders.

How can we en­sure that we are pick­ing up the di­ag­no­sis of th­ese chil­dren early enough and where to go if you have any of th­ese con­cerns?

Your fam­ily GP or your lo­cal com­mu­nity health nurse should be the first place for an ini­tial as­sess­ment and con­ver­sa­tion about your child.

Com­mu­nity health nurses have stan­dard­ised as­sess­ment tools to use and most GPS should be well versed in child de­vel­op­ment.

The ar­eas of a child’s de­vel­op­ment that need to be con­sid­ered in a full de­vel­op­men­tal as­sess­ment are gross motor, fine motor, speech and lan­guage, per­sonal or so­cial, cog­ni­tive and gen­eral be­hav­iour.

As a GP with some years of ex­pe­ri­ence in child health and de­vel­op­men­tal dis­or­ders, the ‘red flags’ list is some­thing I al­ways have in mind but I have also learnt that a par­ent’s in­stincts are al­ways to be con­sid­ered first and fore­most and lis­ten­ing care­fully to their con­cerns is the place to start.

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