Have you ever heard of the Bayleys 111 Neuro developmental assessment? It's an assessment of ex-premature babies to be carried out at the age of two years corrected. It's a national initiative and all babies born before 31 weeks or those weighing less than a kilogram at birth are invited. Babies who received cooling treatment are also assessed.
When I first received the appointment through, I was a little taken a back. Amazingly, Smidge has not needed any physio since she was in NICU so the request to have her seen by the physiotherapist came as a bit of a surprise.
Fortunately our appointment was at 9.30 in the morning, a great time of day for Smidge, so she was on top form.
Walking in to the physio's office, Smidge proudly took a seat in the little red chair and placed her hands on the table, ready to 'learn.' She looked so cute, like a mini student!
The physio had so many games for her, from puzzles to hide and seek games, stories and imaginary play. Smidge had the best time and couldn't believe her luck that this lady 'played' for over an hour and a half.
One thing I will say though about this assessment is that it's extremely comprehensive. Where by Smidge has quite a lengthy concentration span, many toddlers don't and I wouldn't be surprised if this skewed the results. By the end of the 'test' Smidge was starting to tire and was not performing as well as she was at the beginning.
Ideally, I think this test should be carried out over four day's, perhaps in twenty minute sessions for optimal performance.
I think she did really well though and demonstrated excellent cognitive skills (my interpretation, not the physio's) but we will not get the full results until our next consultant appointment in may.
One area that Smidge literally does fall down in, is her gross motor skills. Although she's not terribly behind and did walk at 14 months corrected, she still doesn't jump,struggles a bit with balance and, if you let her, she'd rather crawl up the stairs than walk.
At two corrected most toddlers have mastered these skills and carry them out with ease but Smidge is something of a fumbley mess at times, preferring to stick her arms in the air and shout 'up!' rather than climb the stairs herself.
We are working on her coordination and balance by taking her to gymnastics classes and one day I know she will run around the hall like a pro, rather than toterring like a duck or being dragged by her anxious and slightly over enthusiastic Mother.
The fact that we have come this far makes me feel very proud. Not proud because 'thankfully she's normal' but proud because of the journey she has walked, the journey we have walked.
My little girl may never be a gymnast, a ballet dancer or mountaineer but she is adorable, pretty and clever and a true survivor.