Tuesday 16 December 2014

The Health Visitor Assessment

It was just last week I was sat here at this very computer and writing a post that was making my blood boil. Its' a post that I put off publishing, you see it was a post docuenting how I let down I felt by my health visitor following on from Leo's 2 and a half year check. It's a post that I have now posted alongside this one.. Because the contrast of feelings that I have felt change within this time frame are something that I never anticipated.

My health visitor turned my opinion of her completely upside down and she re-gained my trust once again, and in this moment right now... I am so thankful to her.

They say everything happens for a reason, and I have to say I am inclined to agree with them. It has been almost a year since I have had any form of contact from my health visitor despite multiple attempts of phoning her, leaving voicemail's in the hope that I could just speak to any member of their team and follow up THEIR concerns for my little man. No one ever returned my calls and not even a whisper was heard from them, until Granny was at the doctors earlier this week and just by chance ran into our health visitor.

Granny told our health visitor the struggles we have faced in the last year, some of which I haven't even posted on this here blog... Nursery reports putting Leo's speech and development 20 months below where he should be. Concerns over his general being in the social environment and hints and nudges that there may be something else underlying. Of course in my heart of hearts I had my own opinion, and I didn't share the same concerns as the nursery, and at this moment in time, the same concerns the health visitor had potentially shared back in January.

It turns out that our health visitor has been off on sick leave for a substantial amount of time, she hasn't been around. That doesn't excuse why another member of the team couldn't have responded to my calls and my messages. But it does explain the radio silence and lack of action that has been on the air waves...

The outcome from this chance meeting with the health visitor (who was now back at work full time) was that she felt awful for the last year. She had been told how let down I felt, basically how I had felt in the post I had written here. She juggled her schedule around and the very next day I spoke to her on the phone. We arranged a meeting for today (Monday 15th December 14) and she arrived at the house ready to make a referral based on everything that I had told her.

I wanted this referral. I really wanted it. I wanted to be put in front of a professional and be provided with answers that I felt were long over due. Was it just a speech delay? Or was it something more? Had I been walking around with my head in the sand all this time? Or was my gut instinct the right one?

 Leo and I had been sat on the sofa in silence before the health visitors arrival, I didn't want him engrossed in the television or tootling around the lounge with his favourite trains, I wanted him to to show his full attention so that the health visitor could get a real idea of his character and personality. The health visitor arrived armed with her suitcase, and a number of the objects and puzzles that I had watched Leo complete on his 2 and a half year assessment.

 I handed the health visitor the latest nursery report, and the report I had been handed by the lady from a local agency who had come in to observe Leo. She thanked me for these forms, and then told me that she wouldn't be looking at them until she had completed her assessment which I thought was a grand idea. 

For a little while she just sat and observed us, listened to Leo and I talking among ourselves and watched Leo as he played a magnetic fishing game. Leo wasn't phased by her presence in the room, and just carried on chatting away with me as he always would, and this pleased me greatly as it meant that she could hear first hand just how much his speech had come along. She could hear that he could hold a conversation.  

The health visitor had brought a copy of the first assessment that she had conducted back in January, and it was decided that we would focus on the parts of the form that she had labelled with a 'Q' for query. 

Leo was still happily playing his fishing game, but was easily persuaded to demonstrate his drawing skills. We found out the array of colourful crayons and asked him to find the red one, after he had done that and produced some beautiful markings we asked him to find a number of different colours in turn, and that's exactly what he did. The health visitor was pleased with his drawing, pen holding and colour knowledge which pleased me in turn.

As the assessment went on our health visitor surprised me. She told me she had absolutely no concerns. No concerns over his speech, she even went on to say that he was a right little chatter box and wasn't even really behind on that front any more. She told me that she wasn't going to be referring him because there was absolutely no need, and that the Pediatrician would laugh at her for putting Leo forward when he was quite obviously developing and happy.

Then she opened up the reports I had handed her, the one from the outside source that had come into nursery read that Leo didn't give eye contact. That he had poor facial expressions and was ultimately very behind. Her response? Well she pretty much said that they must have seen a different child that day, because the little boy she had just witnessed was switched on and alert.

Then she read the nursery report and was astounded at where they were placing Leo in his developments. In some areas they have Leo 20 months behind, and that is on the most recent report that I received this month. I have just accepted this as fact, everything following the 2 and half year check in January I have just accepted. The concerns, the worries, the urgency... It just seemed to be the path we were on and Leo was behind. Until today when the health visitor told me that Leo was perfectly normal. 

The health visitor told me that Leo is not behind at all, he is catching up and is actually operating in the capacity of a 4 and a half to 5 year old. She said that if the nursery are grading these reports as they are then there is something wrong, either Leo isn't as happy at the school as we think he is, he's shy, or the staff need further training. She made me promise that I wouldn't worry, that she is certain that he is just a normal 3 year old boy who is going to excel at school, he's just getting there in his own time.

Hearing all of this, all of this positivity from the lady who had first expressed her concerns 11 months ago was astounding. I was beaming from ear to ear. She was completely agreeing with me on every front, and my instinct had been the right one. I hadn't been walking around with my head stuck in the sand, I had been listening to my intuition, and it was the right one.

I had been so set on getting Leo the referral I didn't once for a second think that the health visitor was going to come in and go against everything that had initially been said, and against the reports of the nursery, and actually see Leo as I see him everyday.

It's been 11 months since Leo's 2 and a half year check, so much has happened in that time frame. He has grown and developed and done so much growing up. Yes I feel like someone on the health visitor team could have provided the courtesy of calling back and picking up our case, but ultimately Leo was fine just like I knew he would be. And in the end our health visitor came through and helped us.

For that I am very grateful.


  1. Gosh it all sounds stressful Laura! Dylan's nursery don't seem to know him as well as I would like either which became evident when they showed us his report but thankfully not like this. I am glad you have had your mind put at rest and that Leo is doing so well now x

    1. It has certainly had it's moments! But I am not worried, he is doing great and now having the support of the health visitor, it all seems so much more positive. Just have to speak with nursery again now and go from there. I hope you are well and have had a lovely Christmas! xx


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