Andrea likes to sit in the laundry basket. She likes it even more if the clothes are clean and folded. Then she throws them onto the floor!
Yesterday, we finally had another visit to the Developmental Clinic at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital. Andrea was supposed to be seen there in March, but had an ear infection, so the doctor cancelled her appointment. This was the first time she was there since October 2009, so there have been considerable changes.
At Developmental Clinic, Andrea is seen by Speech Pathologists, Physical Therapists and Neonatologists, who compare Andrea to other (full term) babies based on her corrected age. That means that everyone was looking to see how close Andrea was to a full term 13-month old baby. The thing that was so interesting is that I think Andrea knew she was being assessed. She was at her most charming, smiling and cooing at everyone that came to see her. She was very attentive, and performed all the tasks she was asked to do.
We were expecting a few areas of delay, but she's not as far behind as we dreaded. The deficits are minor, and are in speech and gross motor. Right now, Andrea does not say anything that is recognizable as a word. She does say "DaDaDaDa", but she uses it for many things, not just Ken. A 13-month old baby is expected to have a few words. The other thing that Andrea doesn't do is walk. Now, many babies aren't walking at 13 months, but Andrea is a little further behind than expected. No one was especially worried about these slight delays, and we left with strategies to help her along a little.
Andrea also had a cognitive assessment, to see how her brain is functioning. Now, for a long time we've felt that she's smart beyond her age, and the doctor confirmed that. The first thing the doctor asked her to do was put a peg into a hole. (She modeled for Andrea, since we're not up to following directions yet.) The doctor showed her once, and then Andrea immediately repeated it. She was then given another peg, and on her own put it in the hole. Then the doctor had a ring with a string on it. She dangled it in front of Andrea, and Andrea grabbed the string and used it to "reel in" the ring. The doctor was quite pleased at Andrea's problem solving processes. There were many other tasks she was asked to perform, and the doctor went beyond what would be expected from a 13-month baby to see where she really fell. Well, cognitively, Andrea is 15 months old! WooHoo!!!
The only other finding from the doctors is that Andrea is small for her age. This did not come as a shock to us! She has made up a lot of ground, but still has a way to go. The doctor told us that we might want to consider HGH (Human Growth Hormone) in a few years, if she doesn't catch upon her own. It's not something we need to do now, and it's good to know that the option is there if we need it.
In other Andrea news, she finally has more teeth! She's had the bottom center two for a while, and now the top two (to the sides of center, HAH!) have finally broken through. Once they're out, she'll have fangs!
“The person determined to achieve maximum success learns the principle that progress is made one step at a time. A house is built one brick at a time. Football games are won a play at a time. A department store grows bigger one customer at a time. Every big accomplishment is a series of little accomplishments.”
David Joseph Schwartz