I had the privilege of helping babysit my nephews the other day. It’s always fun hanging out with my sibling’s kids and it amazes me how different they all are. When my sister and I asked if the boys had any particular sleep routines I was surprised when my brother almost reverently handed over something that looked like this:

red spaghetti

He then proceeded to tell us how once it is bedtime if you gently rub his son’s head and back with the spiky bits of the spaghetti server he goes straight to sleep. We accepted the pasta sleep sceptre dutifully but somewhat doubtfully. Sure enough when it came time for bed he protested because he didn’t want to miss out on the somewhat dubious excitement of my sister and I doing some housework together. I took him to the bedroom and used my best therapist voice to be understanding and gently encourage him to lay down. He kept crying but eventually lay down (possibly only because I was cuddling him and I lay down hehe). I then remembered the red spaghetti server. I fetched it and asked if he wanted “tickles” and he eventually nodded (while still trying to escape) and pointed to his back. The moment I placed it on his back he visibly relaxed; within 5 minutes he was fast asleep. Take that doubting me!

This experience was a gentle reminder to me of a key lesson that many health professionals forget sometimes. As the parent YOU are the expert on YOUR CHILD. You might not know everything about their medical or developmental needs but, more importantly than any of that, you know that child as the unique little person they are. You know how they like to be held (or not); fed (or not); helped (or not); taught (or not); played with (or not) and most all you know how to love them.

Another example of this principle is a child who I saw recently. She is an outgoing young lady who is not struggling academically but finds it challenging to focus on schoolwork. As a result, her reading and writing skills are not corresponding to her high level of skill with spoken language. Her parents trusted their instincts that she was capable of more if she could get the right support. I assessed her and identified that she clearly wasn’t achieving at a level that was in keeping with her other abilities or potential and so we are about to embark on a very brief block of therapy to help her refine her literacy skills.

Mums and Dads, if you think your child might not be living up to their own unique potential please ask for help! Trust your instincts even if according to a checklist or someone else’s opinion they seem “fine”. If there is something that doesn’t seem right follow up on it because YOU are the expert on YOUR CHILD.

At Chatterbugs we take the responsibility of being as expert as we can be in all things related to helping children learn to talk, eat, play and learn. We then tailor that expertise to your child’s unique needs, but you will always be the expert on your child.

If in doubt, check it out! If you need advice with your child’s communication just call us on 1300 66 1945 or click on the link below to book an appointment with one of our talented, fun-loving speech pathologists.

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