February Medical Minute

ROR-KC is an integral part of my work day as a community pediatrician interacting with underserved and uninsured/underinsured children and their families. I see children from a diverse background, across multiple cultures, language barriers, economic levels and immigration status.

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For this age group (birth-age 5) seeing their parents, caregivers, physicians behind masks covering up their normal facial expressions and learning again how to respond in a new way was another learning curve and I am sure anxiety provoking. Specifically, infants and toddlers who need visual cues for many things and reciprocate with fascial gesturers, eye tracking and fixation in response to ­­­­­the surrounding audio and visual stimuli. ROR-KC has brought to light a completely new meaning and implementation this past year with all the uncertainty during the COVID-19 lockdown. When everything shut down for an unknown timeframe parents had a heightened anxiety. Also, regarding health care for infants and younger children who were at an additional risk of missing timely well-child visits, immunizations and a pediatrician’s ability to track their neurodevelopmental progress. All this is imperative and solely dependent on in person clinical evaluation.

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It was personally amazing to note that one thing did not change. Observing the behaviors and responses of infants and toddlers on receiving books on their routine well child checks at the outset of their clinical evaluation, now by a masked pediatrician still evoked the same curiosity about colorful pictures, catching images and imaginative stories. I was so delighted when I heard almost similar narration repetitively by more than dozen parents and families that since COVID-19 lockdown they were able to stay home and read or even re-read ROR-KC books given on all previous appointments as well as given to siblings. They were even more excited and motivated to come to their well child check as soon as safety measures with pandemic allowed us to see them in-person.

-Dr. Hibba Haider, MD

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