2 year health check changes

You’re probably bored of hearing about this now, but it was N’s 2 year check today.  We were sent a questionnaire to complete beforehand on development things he can or can’t yet do (wonder how many people lie or just don’t bother completing it?), with the thought that it would chatted through at the appointment.

Apart from that, I wasn’t sure what to expect, and it seems neither did most of my mum friends going through the same stage with their children around this time.  As usual with health visitors/medical checks, every area or even health visitor seems to be different.

Previous checks were usually at home which to me made perfect sense as the HV could see how the child was in a natural comfortable environment.  Obviously not as efficient for HV. Because we’re in a rural area with a tiny doctor’s surgery, the HV comes from a different surgery (not even the nearest one, but one 25 minutes away) to their clinic once a fortnight.  Looks like our old HV has moved on which is a shame as she really seemed to care and built a rapport with N.

This check was at the surgery.  I presumed (from talking to friends) it would be around an hour.  No.  We were in and out in 30 minutes.  10 minutes of that was trying to persuade N to take his clothes off to be weighed (didn’t work, too much crying and dragging clothes back on) or trying to get him to stand on the height measure (only in the end with his wellies on).

So, 20 minutes of a brief run through the questionnaire we’d filled in, totting up the scores, a couple of questions around eating, teeth, talking.  That was it.  It could have just been a phone call really.

This compares to other friends who’ve had (prior to January when it seems the new questionnaire system came in after trials) a range of 2-2.5 year checks:

  • 2 hour group play session with HV observing and chatting to mums/children
  • 1 hr plus chat in the home observing and interacting with the child
  • 1 hr plus with HV in surgery/office watching child play etc.

All of these seem more relevant and helpful.  It didn’t help that because our surgery is only a visited surgery, it doesn’t have toys there.  From what the HV said, with the new system, they’re meant to have a pack of relevant toys, but they’ve not arrived yet.  Helpful.

I’m sure having a questionnaire might be handy if there are parents who don’t take notice of what their children should or shouldn’t be doing, who don’t take them to socialise at local groups or with other children, or don’t provide them with a variety of activities to help them learn the new skills they should be.  It should make people like that more aware of how they could be supporting and helping their child’s development.  However, I’m sure HV would learn more about how the children are getting on by seeing them in a play environment rather than in a stuffy office.

N did enjoy trying to get round the back of the desk to the computer cables, swinging on the floor lamp stand, and playing peekaboo with the bed curtain.  Otherwise there was no way apart from my word, that the HV would get a real idea of what N was like.

We obviously didn’t have any issues to talk about, I have no concerns about N’s development and being in a childcare setting, any issues would have been noticed by now.  But I was expecting a bit more out of the session.  Maybe some ideas for play, or some ideas on how to help your child learn new things.  I will continue using the guides by month that online resources provide, as these seem to be more consistent and helpful in providing an idea of what you can help children with.

In my opinion, I’d think they need to rework the sessions and make them more consistent, with the flexibility depending on the child and location.  Surely pre-2013, HV had an outline they would have to follow.  It’s like facilitating a focus group – you have an outline discussion document, but you’re led by the group.  I don’t see how assessing a child at this age should be any different.

What have been your experiences?

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