Thursday, March 5, 2009


I got a postcard in the mail the other day. No, it wasn't some whimsical note from abroad with Stonehenge on the front. It was a postcard from Eva's pediatrician's office.
It instructed me to go to their website and fill out a questionnaire, and take it to them when we go there next week.
I, sheep that I am, went and began filling it out. Then the sick feeling crept up on me.
When I was at the pediatrician's office for her 16-month visit, a little resident (He actually was very short) was the one who sat in the examination room with us and asked questions. He asked all sorts of stuff, said some stuff that made me paranoid, and some stuff that made me really angry.
"How many words does she say? Eight or more?"
I hemmed and hawed...You see, I don't usually count the words my daughter says. She was talking. That was enough for me.
"I guess so...she says "mama" and "dada" and some other words...."
"Ah...I see..."
He then moved on, and then decided it was a good time to sum up some 20 minutes later.
"She is doing well with blah blah blah...but she isn't speaking as much as we would like."
Who is "we?" Must be some secret club or something. And how do you really know how well she is doing? You just met her 30 minutes ago.
My feathers ruffled, I nearly spat out,
"Well, she just communicates in her own way."
I did manage to say it politely, but I think he was afflicted with the same disease as most doctors and has selective hearing.
Well, as I was looking over the questionnaire, and was doing what it asked ("Make sure you do every activity with your child." It was actually fun, and I realized I hadn't taught Eva how to kick a ball and it was SO cute watching her kick it all over the house after I showed her how!), the question came up:
"Does your child use eight or more words?"
Well, yes she does...but...wait a minute...
I then closed out the 18-month questionnaire and opened the 16-month questionnaire, and found out that for a 16-month-old, only FOUR words are suggested as normal.
The resident, who made me feel so inferior, was
W R O N G. I shouldn't have been surprised. The doctors in that office have never struck me as very competent--just arrogant and superior.
I finished the questionnaire, and then started to get really agitated.
What does this survey prove?
That my child is "statistically" better than most?
That my child is "statistically" behind?
And what does this survey have to do with the physical health of my child?
And why does it matter?
And does this survey allow for differences in different people, who develop differently at different rates?
I then decided that I wasn't going to turn in my questionnaire.
It has no relevance.
All it will do is make me feel paranoid and defensive and make me wonder if my kids are defective.
So, when I go to the doctor's office next week, and they ask for the survey, I will say I don't have it, and then they will try and hand me a copy to fill out and I will say, "No, thank you," in a firm, but kind tone.
I don't like labeling. And I won't have my child labeled.


Katscratchme said...

I'll bet Eva uses more words than you realize. It took a long time for us to be able to recognize that the babbling wasn't just babbling. And several different words tend to sound the same. If you talk to your kids, I don't think you have anything to worry about.
Oh, and just for fun, while we're with Audrey in the car or someplace equally non-entertaining, we ask her to say ridiculously hard words to everyone's amusement: cloaca, deciduous, omnivore, ubiquitous, troglodyte, anal retentive.. eventually we'll have to stop encouraging the more offensive words. LOL.. but I figure most adults wouldn't understand what those words mean if she were to use them appropriately anyway.

Trillium said...

Stick to your guns! Don't let them bully you. Tell them "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts." And if they look like they don't get it, repeat it very slowly, while nodding your head and smiling as if you are talking to a child. LOL

Tara Barnett said...

You ought to "beach slap" them when they try to hand you the survey form. (:

Melanie Ann Millett said...

Dara. Pediatricians are doing their best to detect early autism, and other developmental delays. It is to HELP you. If there was something wrong with your daughter, you would already have a feeling that something is not right.

shydandelion said...

I completely agree with you, Melanie. I think I would know by now if my child had problems, and I know she doesn't. My problem is with MY doctors. They have been wrong about my children in more than one instance, and it sort of rubs me the wrong way when they try and tell me I am wrong.

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