One of the very first things I tell my clients is if they have concern or questions about their child’s development, they need to listen to their instincts and find practitioners that believe them and can help. Dad’s this goes for you too….there just isn’t a term for it.
I feel so strongly about this because I experienced the constant uneasiness I felt after every doctors appointment. Trained specialists again and again telling me that everything was going to be okay and my son would “grow out” of the concerns we were seeing. Luckily I have training in the medical field as an Occupational Therapist and had some grasp on how specialized medical professionals are nowadays. Rarely are they looking at the whole child or putting together the pieces of the developmental puzzle. They are trained to look at a specific body part. This is why we prefer naturopaths or integrative medical doctors for our children.
Our pediatric physician wasn’t too concerned that my son hadn’t rolled over until approximately six months old. Or that he hated tummy time and his head was so big it was a struggle for him to be comfortable on his belly. He said that children develop at their own rate. Now I know that even one month delay in reaching a milestone can result in future difficulties in learning and skill. I followed my motherly instincts and requested therapy services be started immediately. At least he obliged my request and helped with the scripts. Being a pediatrician, I believe they should know how to test for primitive reflexes to check for early delays. There are simple movements that can be done for this test at the six month visit and year visit. Did my doctor ever test reflexes? No. Did he ever mention that they were important? No. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics has increased the milestone age range because so many children are delayed. This is a huge problem. Functional neurology professionals that research and work with pediatrics have full understanding that even one month delay can cause issues later on. But if caught early enough, the parents can facilitate appropriate movement to help their child develop.
Next was the pediatric neurologist. Someone that specializes in the brain and I assume development, since his specialty is in pediatrics. I showed him how my son, now two years old, still did not have the parachute reflex. He fell all of the time and would not reflexively put his arms out to catch himself. This resulted in many knots on his forehead and fear for this momma.
He wasn’t concerned. He was the doctor that told me “he’ll catch up by the time he’s three.”
He never did.
I look back to those “experts” and wish I had done more, known more, or had more knowledge to challenge their findings. Of course I also tell parents they can’t go back and shouldn’t beat themselves up about not knowing what you know now.
Our children need advocates to reach their full potential. And the only person that will work for you child 100% is YOU. You are their advocate, their voice! If you have concerns, please address them. Don’t take no for an answer. You just haven’t found the right person to help yet.