Yesterday we brought Colin to Jersey Shore Medical Center to the Infant Toddler Assessment Program (ITAP) in their Children's ward. This program works similarly to the early intervention program, however, it involves a developmental pediatrician who will evaluate Colin on a regular basis to ensure he is developing on "track".
First, we brought Colin into a room where a team of therapists put him onto the floor to check and see how he moves and lifts his head when on his stomach. They also used toys with sound to see how well he followed the sounds, moved the objects to see if he tracked them, and also evaluated his mouth. They asked a lot of questions about things that only Chris and I would know regarding what Colin does at home including smiling, noises he makes, things he does while playing, etc.
Next, Colin was brought into a different room where the nurse asked more questions and also took some basic measurements. Colin now weighs 9 lbs. 7 oz and was 22 inches long! He has gained more than an ounce a day since his last checkup which is right on track for him. She mapped out his measurements onto two different charts, one for standard children and one for boys with Down Syndrome. He falls into lower percentiles on the standard chart, however, that's because his weight is still small for his age. On a comparible chart for him, he falls in a much higher range so we were very happy about that.
Finally, the developmental pediatrician came in to talk to us and perform her own evaluation. Because Colin is still at a very young age, there is not much to look for at this point besides his muscle tone. Everyone that evaluated him mentioned that he did have lower muscle tone, however, he is strong in some areas. Most babies at this age have low muscle tone anyway, so we just need to continue to work with him on tummy time and in other activities to improve his strength.
Early intervention had recommended physical therapy two times a month, however, the developmental pediatrician felt that we should be doing it once a week to make sure he really continues to build on his strength. At this rate, Colin is going to be lifting dumbbells before he turns one!
Until 2 years of age, Colin will be evaluated by the developmental pediatrician every 3 months just to make sure he is staying on track. I think it was nice for us to get a different perspective on his disability from a developmental pediatrician. They are all very nice people and overall our experience was a very good one.