Ask a Surrey Place Nurse

It’s National Nursing Week! Although nurses contribute to our communities year-round, since the beginning of the pandemic, nurses across the world have done exceptional work in keeping us safe from COVID-19. 

At Surrey Place, our nurses’ support for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities is truly inspiring. To showcase their expertise on a variety of topics, our nurses teamed up to answer some frequently asked questions from clients, caregivers and community members – take a look!

To showcase their expertise on a variety of topics, our nurses teamed up to answer some frequently asked questions from clients, caregivers and community members – take a look! 

My daughter has an annual checkup booked. How should I prepare? 

On our Developmental Disabilities Primary Care Program website, you can find tools called About My Health and My Health Care Visit, which can be completed before the appointment. You can even add questions to the tool to be discussed during the appointment 

My child is feeling anxious or has questions about COVID-19. How do I explain COVID-19 to them? 

You can explain COVID-19 to your child by first supporting their understanding. Some other tips include maintaining their old routine as well as building new ones. For more advice, check out this great tip sheet from our Resource Library: How to Talk to Your Child About COVID-19. 

If someone has already been sick with COVID-19, do they need to get the vaccine?  

There is evidence of people getting COVID-19 again after they have recovered from it, so we do recommend that everyone gets the vaccine, even if you have already been sick from the virus. All four approved COVID-19 vaccines provide very strong protection against serious illness and hospitalization. 

There has recently been a death in our family, and I am unsure how to explain to my son what has happened in a way he will understand.  

Baroness Sheila Hollins has created a series of books called Books Beyond Words. Each story is co-created with and for people who find pictures easier to understand than words. We recommend reading one on grief and bereavement, and another on the effects of COVID-19. 

We have many clients in the group home on antipsychotic medications. Where can I go to get information that is easy to understand? 

In our Adult Psychiatric Clinic, we often provide caregivers with information on specific medications. This can be found at These easy-to-read leaflets are available in audio as well! We always let people know they are produced in the UK because the language and information (such as calling for emergency response or the health care provider’s office) are different. 

How can I help regulate my child’s erratic sleep schedule? 

There are several non-pharmacological strategies to improving sleep. We recommend: a consistent, relaxing bedtime routine, putting your child to bed and waking them up at the same time every day (even on weekends!), making sure your child has plenty of physical activity early in the day and not in the evening, and ensuring the bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet. 

The person I’m caring for has conditions/treatments that need monitoring through blood tests or could experience risky complications. Do you have any advice? 

In addition to supporting the person with Surrey Place resources like the blood draw toolkit, the intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) nurse could collaborate with the primary care provider and IDD specialists like behaviour therapists and mobile/home visiting lab services if needed, to help prepare and support the person to gradually tolerate blood tests. 

Resources You May Like

By 2 months

Has your baby had their hearing screened? YES NO

By 6 months

Does the child?

Startle in response to loud noises? YES NO
Turn to where a sound is coming from? YES NO
Make different cries for different needs (hungry, tired)? YES NO
Watch your face as you talk? YES NO
Smile/laugh in response to your smiles and laughs? YES NO
Imitate coughs or other sounds such as ah, eh, buh YES NO

By 9 months

Does the child?

Respond to their name? YES NO
Respond to the telephone ringing or a knock at the door? YES NO
Understand being told no? YES NO
Get what they want through using gestures (reaching to be picked up)? YES NO
Play social games with you (Peek-a-Boo)? YES NO
Enjoy being around people? YES NO
Babble and repeat sounds such as babababa or duhduhduh? YES NO

By 12 months

Does the child?

Follow simple one-step directions (sit down)? YES NO
Look across the room to a toy when adult points at it? YES NO
Consistently use three to five words? YES NO
Use gestures to communicate (waves hi/bye, shakes head for no)? YES NO
Get your attention using sounds, gestures and pointing while looking at your eyes? YES NO
Bring you toys to show you? YES NO
Perform for social attention and praise? YES NO
Combine lots of sounds together as though talking (abada baduh abee)? YES NO
Show an interest in simple picture books? YES NO

By 18 months

Does the child?

Understand the meaning of in and out, off and on? YES NO
Point to more than 2 body parts when asked? YES NO
Use at least 20 words consistently? YES NO
Respond with words or gestures to simple questions (Where's teddy? What's that?)? YES NO
Demonstrate some pretend play with toys (gives teddy bear a drink, pretends a bowl is a hat)? YES NO
Make at least four different consonant sounds (p ,b, m, n, d, g, w, h)? YES NO
Enjoy being read to and sharing simple books with you? YES NO
Point to pictures using one finger? YES NO

By 2 years

Does the child?

Follow two-step directions (Go find your teddy bear and show it to Grandma.)? YES NO
Use 100 to 150 words? YES NO
Use at least two pronouns (you, me, mine)? YES NO
Consistently combine two to four words in short phrases (Daddy hat. Truck go down.)? YES NO
Enjoy being around other children? YES NO
Begin to offer toys to other children and imitate other children's actions and words? YES NO
Use words that are understood by others 50 to 60 per cent of the time? YES NO
Form words or sounds easily and without effort? YES NO
Hold books the right way up and turn the pages? YES NO
Read to stuffed animals or toys? YES NO
Scribble with crayons? YES NO

By 30 months

Does the child?

Understand the concepts of size (big/little) and quantity (a little/a lot, more)? YES NO
Use some adult grammar (two cookies, bird flying, I jumped)? YES NO
Use over 350 words? YES NO
Use action words such as run, spill, fall? YES NO
Participate in some turn-taking activities with peers, using both words and toys? YES NO
Demonstrate concern when another child is hurt or sad? YES NO
Combine several actions in play (puts blocks in the train and drives the train, drops the blocks off.)? YES NO
Put sounds at the beginning of most words? YES NO
Use words with two or more syllables or beats (ba-na-na, com-pu-ter, a-pple)? YES NO
Recognize familiar logos and signs involving print (Stop sign)? YES NO
Remember and understand familiar stories? YES NO

By 3 years

Does the child?

Understand who, what, where and why questions? YES NO
Create long sentences using five to eight words? YES NO
Talk about past events (trip to grandparents house, day at child care)? YES NO
Tell simple stories? YES NO
Show affection for favourite playmates? YES NO
Engage in multi-step pretend play (pretending to cook a meal, repair a car)? YES NO
Talk in a way that most people outside of the family understand what she/he is saying most of the time? YES NO
Have an understanding of the function of print (menus, lists, signs)? YES NO
Show interest in, and awareness of, rhyming words? YES NO
Read to stuffed animals or toys? YES NO
Scribble with crayons? YES NO

By 4 years

Does the child?

Follow directions involving three or more steps (First get some paper, then draw a picture and give it to Mommy)? YES NO
Use adult type grammar? YES NO
Tell stories with a beginning, middle and end? YES NO
Talk to try and solve problems with adults and with other children? YES NO
Show increasingly complex imaginary play? YES NO
Talk in a way that is understood by strangers almost all the time? YES NO
Generate simple rhymes (cat-bat)? YES NO
Match some letters with their sounds (letter b says buh, letter t says tuh)? YES NO