What If My Child Is Not Meeting Milestones?

Developmental Milestones

Developmental milestones provide a framework for parents and providers to track child development. These milestones reflect a general pattern of child development and may not always exactly align with your own child's growth.

However, it's important to know when your child may be showing signs of developmental delay and how to take action to address any deficits. Follow these tips if you think your child is missing developmental milestones.

Worried about missing milestones?

1. Take a breath

Every child is different, even in the same family. Your child might hit a milestone weeks or even months later than another child the same age, or might even skip a step. For example, some kids skip crawling but start walking at the appropriate time.

What's most important is that your child is developing new skills. A child will develop at their own pace, and can't be forced to a new stage of development before they're ready. Parents, however, can nurture development by providing encouragement and a stimulating environment.

2. Trust your gut

No one knows your child better than you. If you think something is off, talk to your pediatrician. Consider using a milestone tracker to keep updated information about your child's growth and monitor their development.

3. Wait and see, to a point

While every child is unique and develops at their own pace, there is a normal range during which most children reach each milestone. For example, some babies start crawling at 6 months, others not until 12 months – and there are many different types of crawls.

If you are concerned about a particular area of development, you can more actively monitor your child's activities around this milestone as that data can be very helpful in targeting a potential developmental need.

4. Talk to your pediatrician

Never hesitate to ask questions or raise concerns with your pediatrician. Your child's provider can assure you if your concerns are unfounded. If they agrees there is an issue, your pediatrician can offer options to address the milestone delay, including making a referral for further assessments.

While pediatricians monitor child development, they rely heavily on parents to track progress, recognizing that parents know their child best. These 10 milestones, in particular, are the ones that the American Academy of Pediatricians recommends parents pay most attention to.

5. Get help early

According to the CDC, early intervention can have a significant impact. Developmental interventions will have the most impact the earlier they are provided, and can change your child's developmental trajectory. These interventions include developmental services like speech, occupational and developmental therapy. For infants and toddlers, in particular, early intervention can help your child catch up in their development when the gap is much smaller.

Healthy Young Minds can help

Healthy Young Minds specializes in the assessment and treatment of developmental delays, and offers a full range of therapies focused on early intervention. Studies show that early interventions translate to better outcomes – targeting deficits while a child's brain has more plasticity and is easier to “rewire.” Using teletherapy that is deeply engaging, we offer evidence-based and results-driven care, personalized to meet your child's specific needs.

Written by Dr. Cari Whitlock

Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Neuropsychologist at Healthy Young Minds

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