Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Teaching to the Test

Testing and assessments start at birth with the APGAR test being carried out at just a minute old.

On Friday Little Owl will be assessed yet again by the Health Visitors.

The Health Visitors.

It hasn't been a happy relationship with the health visitors meaning that any interaction with them needs careful thought and planning.  This does not sit well with my normally happy go lucky nature!

For her Two Year assessment, we have been sent a form to fill in, with a covering letter explaining the form is American and they could help us if we are unfamiliar with the words!  Apparently the NHS has not paid for the full license allowing them to adapt the form for the UK.  I find this a little bit embarrassing.

We were sent the form 3 weeks prior to the appointment to allow us time to "complete the activities" with Little Owl.  So this is how we have found ourselves, at just 23 months old, teaching to the test!

To be honest, Little Owl has nailed this section, they don't seem to be concerned about the number of clear words that she is saying, as long as she is saying some, can understand instructions and is making 2 or 3 word sentences.  We'll be fine as long as they don't show her a picture of a cat and ask her what it is as Little Owl is still calling them "babbies".  Don't ask.

Actually, I thought I had this section nailed until I turned the page and found the last question:

"Does your child correctly use at least two words like 'me' 'I' 'mine' and 'you'?"

Little Owl very briefly said "mine", just for a couple of hours, and has said "me" ever since.  Does that count?  Can I tick the sometimes box?  Has Little Owl failed already?

Just to be on the safe side, Papa Owl and I have come up with a new game which basically involves us repeatedly pointing at each other and Little Owl and saying "you".  So far Little Owl has failed to say "you" but does think this game is "fun" which is her latest word and sign.

Gross Motor
Thanks to living in a Victorian terrace house, Little Owl can walk up and down the stairs. Running is not a problem either, and we've been actively encouraging jumping over the last few weeks and that's paid off.  So that just leaves the questions about kicking a ball... the only ball we could find was from her ball pit!
Kicking ball - tick!
Pity they don't ask about forward rolls... she can do them no problem!

Fine Motor
Spoon - tick!  Turning pages of a book - tick!  Flip switches - tick!  But really - are we meant to be encouraging that?

Time to dig out the bottle (to check turning motion), blocks or toys (to check ability to stack 7) and buttons or beads (to check ability to thread).
Turning - tick!  Cups - tick!  Buttons - nope.  She can pull them off ok but really isn't that interested in threading them.  Interestingly, the box suggests its an activity for 3-6 year olds.

Problem Solving
This section is quite complicated.

Drawing lines - tick. Pretending (such as using object as phone or putting boxes on head pretending its a hat) - tick!

Line up 4 objects in a row - why would she even want to?

The next one intrigues me "after a crumb or Cheerio is dropped into a small clear bottle does your child turn the bottle upside down to dump out the crumb or Cheerio?"  Crumb or Cheerio? Seriously?  Fine that its American but product placement?  That's just not British!

Little Owl did it by the way, I put a hair clip in the bottle used in the last section - she had to unscrew the lid before she could tip it upside down - real problem solving!

Does your child put things away where they belong?

Serious?  Do kids do this before they move out?  Not sure I can tick this one myself! (Pappa owl tells me she puts her toys away after a bath with him so maybe its just me!)

If your child wants something she cannot reach, does she find a chair or box to stand on to reach it?

My mother would have kittens if Little Owl did this!

I think Little Owl is a great little problem solver for example she worked out how to get into the bathroom before me, close the door and slide the bolt across.  That was a neat trick we only let her do once! 

Drink from a cup - tick!  Copy us - tick! Eat with a fork - tick (but I'd like to know why eating with fork is a social skill when eating with a spoon is a fine motor skill). Feeds dolls and pushes them in pram - tick and tick!

"Does your child call herself 'I' or 'me' more often than her own name?"  Yes - but that's probably got more to do with 'Little Owl' being a bit of a mouthful - I reckon if we named her something like Mia she would be able to say it by now!

That concludes the main part of the questionnaire.  The end section has a few leading questions, encouraging the parents to highlight any concerns we may have about her development.

Do we have any concerns?  Well yeeess - the more we are hearing of Little Owls voice, the more we are having to come to terms with the fact that she sounds like the Spanish Interpreter from Blackadder!


  1. We don't have a great relationship with our HV, but we don't even hear from ours! Thanks for linking up #binkylinky

  2. Wow I had no idea we had something like this coming up. It sounds utterly ridiculous and simply designed to worry parents and force milestones. It sounds like Little Owl is doing fine to me.
    Thanks for linking up to #BinkyLinky

  3. HV are just a memory. Havent seen them for the longest time. Your post is so much fun! #mbpw

  4. WHAT?! That sounds rediculous. We had nothing like that. We had a long session in a room at our local surgery where there was lots of observation and questions. Nothing that felt like a test. I can't be doing with that at all. Hope it went ok?


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