Dr. Tom Cheetham – Dear Friend and Valued Colleague

We have learned of the passing of a dear friend and valued colleague, Dr. Tom Cheetham who passed away Monday August 20, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. 

Many staff knew Dr. Cheetham personally, as did many of our clients.  His passion for the healthcare of individuals with intellectual disabilities began during his medical school training where he was the house parent for a group home in Hamilton. He completed his family medicine residency at Oxford Regional Centre in Woodstock and eventually became the Chief Physician until the Centre closed. In 1982 he opened his family practice in Woodstock and continued to advocate for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

His career continued to grow and took on the role of Director of the Developmental Disabilities Program at University of Western Ontario in London, which also included taking on the role of Chief Physician at Southwestern Regional Centre. He was Chief Physician at Rideau Regional Centre and worked closely with Dr. Bruce McCreary and the program at Queens. During this time, he was an active participant and contributor to the Developmental Disabilities Primary Care Guidelines developed and published by Surrey Place in 2005. 

Dr. Cheetham’s career continued to take him to new heights; he was recruited for the role of physician at Orange Grove Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He returned home to Surrey Place for a brief time and then returned to Nashville until his death as Deputy Commissioner Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Despite being in Tennessee, Dr. Cheetham never forgot his Canadian roots and continued to be an active contributor of the Developmental Disabilities Primary Care Guidelines 2018. 

Colleagues will remember him as a strong advocate for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  He was instrumental in having the Surrey Place Developmental Disabilities Primary Care Guidelines and Tools published and used in the United States through the Vanderbilt University. 

He has authored book chapters and articles on the topic of physical health and tips for health care providers to advocate and support individuals and their caregivers in order to continue to receive the best health care possible in both countries. 

He was the ultimate teacher; he always had time to talk to anyone and would also take the time to make sure the issue was addressed. He was a caring and compassionate man who always seemed to be able to interact with any individual despite their level of functioning. He was never known to be seen without his tie; casual dress attire for Dr. Cheetham was rolling up his sleeves on his white crisp dress shirts. 

We have lost a dear friend and colleague and the developmental disabilities community mourns the loss of a compassionate advocate.  We extend our sincerest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. 

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