As the readers of my blog would know we have recently been concerned that both boys may have Cerebral Palsy. Today we saw a specialist at the hospital and he is cautiously optimistic that both boys are showing NO signs of CP. He acknowledged that they are developmentally delayed, but he says that their level of language and motor skills would still be considered within the "norm" for their corrected age. It would be remarkable if they didn't have delays due to their extreme prematurity, low birth weight and rocky road through NICU - so Kev & I are both happy that at this stage there are no glaring problems. As for their odd walking style he noted it wasn't consistent with CP - as it comes and goes and he feels that as the boys develop muscle mass and strength they will become more stable.
He also mentioned that extremely premature babies often have learning problems - which aren't always based on intelligence, but on the way the child learns. So we need to be mindful of working with the boys' kindy and school teachers to find the optimal method of learning for both boys. From my very rudimentary understanding of learning this can also be the case for many full term children, but it is interesting. Recent research has indicated that the premature baby's brain is anatomically different to the brain of the fullterm baby and this may help explain the learning difficulties and developmental issues faced by many premature babies.
What does this mean for Mitch & Harry? Life for them goes on as usual - they are happy, sociable little boys, which will hopefully stand them in good stead for the future. We are extremely blessed that despite their awful start to life they are walking, talking and developing. It is certainly not the case for all premature babies born so early. Now we have a plan for some additional therapy to assist them and us in optimising their development. While we are mindful that there may be further hurdles in the future, we are trying to focus on enjoying the boys' childhood while preparing them to be happy, sociable individuals. And they certainly are social butterflies as evidenced by this afternoon in the hospital playground - both boys walked around the play equipment holding hands with a new little friend they met and talking with other children.