So back to the developmental pediatric workshop I was planning to talk about.
I had the idea from one of my own residency training experiences, in which we had a half day with a handful of some of our colleague’s children and talks given by physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists on the nitty gritty details of pediatric development, red flags to look for that make you wonder if the child has a developmental concern, and a lot of demonstration by the children on how their skills progress during the toddler and preschool years.
Of course we had to modify the structure a bit, since there are no pediatric PT, OT or Speech Therapists to my knowledge (in this city of 7+ million people).
As an aside, if you have a knowledge base in those areas and would like to come and spend some time helping to train some of our medical and nonmedical staff, please contact me! We would LOVE to host you. This is a great need, especially with orphans who are being cared for by foster families and across the board have gaps and delays in their development in some way.
We had a great time with the kids compliantly demonstrating walking, stair climbing, jumping and skipping across the big room, and showing off their drawing skills. It’s fun to see how children’s drawings are so representative of their developmental age. And they were of course all very eager to please the doctors (not to mention the aforepromised yummy snacks that were a-waiting).
Our discussion then evolved into a series of questions from the residents about general well child care issues, such as infant and toddler nutrition, television, discipline, the importance of books and reading, and when to address s-e-x education. It was very fascinating to hear what is culturally expected and appropriate in these areas.
For example, the Chinese are even more fanatical about formula and nutritional supplements than US parents, I think, and there are entire aisles in small stores devoted to a myriad of vitamins and supplements that parents are supposed to add to their children’s diets. I have been told that doctors recommend that children receive supplmental formula until age 7!!! Based on recommendations from guess who–the formula companies.
But for all the differences in opinion, the bottom line is that parents everywhere want the best for their children, and as a medical person it can be a very big responsibility to make sure that we are combining giving them factual information laced with common sense and encouragement.
As a parent myself, I know how hard it can be to decide what is best for my children in a given situation, and then secondguess myself. Parenting really is the most difficult job on the planet, I’ve decided a long time ago! And so many times parents get no encouragement from others, only critiqued ad nauseum.
That is when I turn to time-honored truths found in scripture to give me guidance, and to remind me how we are all in need of grace and compassion as we learn this task called parenting on the fly. As a pediatrician, I can turn around and affirm my parents in these ways and many more.
We hope to help infuse this perspective into our group of trainees as well!