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Developmental Pediatrics

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Eliana tells us about her drawing

Every Friday afternoon in the residents’ schedule is what we call “Academic Afternoon” where they gather for some didactic lectures in medicine. The lectures are divided among the faculty. Last week, the pediatricians, Eva, Nancy, and I got together to give the residents a demonstration in developmental pediatrics.

We got several of our friends to lend us their children (including Eva’s own four) for the afternoon which gave us children with the ages from 1 to 8 years old. We went through gross motor, fine motor, speech and language, and social developmental stages, having the kids go through a series of movements, drawing pictures, and telling us about what they drew. We highlighted “red flags”, stressed the benefits of reading, and discussed how to incorporate developmental screening into the clinic visit.

While discussing speech development, I explained the consonants and words that are often first spoken in an English environment. I asked the residents to tell me which words are often spoken first by Chinese babies. One of the residents said “qian” (money). We all had a good laugh, but I’m not sure it was a 100% joke – there is truth in banter!

Since almost all of the residents’ pediatric exposure is with children in orphanages and foster care, and well-child care in China only amounts to getting shots,  they don’t often get to interact with healthy babies, watching them develop over time.

While we were discussing, the kids were allowed to be kids playing, and coloring, doing puzzles, and we encouraged the residents to just practice observing them even as we talked. Getting to teach in creative ways is always a lot of fun!

Eva leading the discussion (note the hospital laundry in the background)

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