Every six months, Little Miss Minion will be evaluated to make sure she is meeting age adjusted milestones. She had her first one the other day, a little after her nine month chronological birthday!
The results: she’s doing really well. She’s right on target for her adjusted age of 6 months on cognition and language. She’s at 7 months for fine motor skills, and she’s at 8 months for gross motor skills. Fine motor skills are things like picking stuff up, moving things with your fingers, reaching for things. Gross motor skills are things like rolling and sitting. She’s got two and a half more years to catch up with her chronological age, so this is a great start.
They looked at tons of different things. We started off with a debrief of her nicu stay and what she’s been doing since she got out. We talked about her shunt stuff, her eating, her sleep habits, her general temperament. They loved how alert and interested she was in everything going on. They weighed her and measured her height. She’s 14 pounds, 10 ounces, and 24.5 inches tall. She’s staying right on her curve for both, which is great.
The next thing was a visit with physical therapy, which was pretty much an hour of playing with her. They watched how she played with different toys, how she tried to get to toys placed just out of reach, how she reacted to different noises while playing. They stretched her, moved her arms and legs, played with her fingers and toes, watched her roll and reach for things.
The next thing was going over her results with one of the nicu doctors. They went over each of the areas that the assessments covered and how she scored. We got a list of things to help her build on, and then they gave her a hearing test. The hearing test was two different tests, conducted in a soundproof booth. I held her while they did both tests. The first one is a repeat of the one she was given in the nicu. They put super fancy earphones on her and bounce sounds off her eardrums to test the reaction of the cochlea, the physical part of the ear that lets you hear. Some sort of sensor thing in the earphones measures how the cochlea react to the noise. The second part of the test was to see if she would turn to hear noises. One person would distract her with a toy and then someone else would talk to her on a speaker in the corner of the room. She passed both tests with excellent marks.
Little Miss Minion needed her hearing tested for two reasons. The first is because she had meningitis during her nicu stay. The illness can cause hearing damage by itself. The second reason is that the antibiotics they used to treat the bacteria are ototoxic, meaning they can cause hearing damage. She was on those antibiotics for 21 days. Of course, hearing damage would be a small price to pay, but we are glad that she got full marks.
The next NICU follow up will be in six more months, when she will be 12 months adjusted.