You might remember me mentioning in a previous blog about children in England not being able to tell someone their name or count to ten by the age of four.
In the UK we used to do a 3 year old developmental assessment but so much can and should happen between the age of 3 and starting school.
The New South Wales Dept of Health has now moved the 4 your old check to a 3 year old check.
Then I read this article in todays Sydney Morning Herald!
I think rather than being alarmist and saying things like 'children will be mis-daignosed' and placed on the DSM V (a psychological categorising manual) and then medication we should be looking at the benefits of the Healthy Kids Check, and believe me there are many!
It takes much more than a tantrum to diagnose mental health issues in children. And 'how about' we look at it from the perspective of, being able to give the lovely hardworking parent out there, a few tips to help reduce tantrums, which we most definitely can. Ho hum...Karen's harrumphing again!
Just last week I did a Healthy Kids assessment on a 4 year old and found:
- Early tooth decay - he was still using a bottle with milk in it. He even brought it along for his assessment. The parents were unaware that he had tooth decay. It gave me and the GP an opportunity to promote dental health and prevent further tooth decay and the resulting issues with that.
- We identified a 'lazy eye' and looked at relevant referrals.
- We also picked up a poor fine motor grasp and gave some homework ideas and then we will review in 3 months.
- If I hadn't invited the parents (opportunistically) whilst we were doing the 4 year old immunisations for a Healthy Kids Check just think of what would have been missed and the impact on that child and what would have happened once he had started school.
We are looking at so much more than behaviour and sleep and it's helpful.
All the parents and children I've seen for the Healthy Kids Check have walked away with a few snippets of GOLD. And the children really enjoy the experience. Book in with your GP and the practice nurse and we'll show you how valuable it is.
Now the assessment will become a 3 year old assessment rather than a 4 year old one just think that's 2 more years before school starts. That's extra time to fine tune any issues that are there and help prepare your child for school in a more positive way.
Leaving the check till four only gives you the parent one year to implement any 'homework' needed.
It's really important that your child starts school with optimum abilities and health and I'm sure every parent wants that for their child.