Is my child reaching developmental milestones?
My husband and I went out to breakfast this morning and he was “flirting” with another girl! He is a sucker for cute cheeks and bright smiles. We saw a darling baby with both and a big bow headband to top it off! The parents allowed us to ooh and ahh over their precious daughter and later we were talking about how we loved that sweet stage of development when our children would give us that toothless grin. Each developmental stage has milestones that parents love, and we want all children to reach those milestones on time.
Developmental milestones are things that most children do at certain ages. Reaching those milestones show us that children are developing well. There is a wide range of normal with development, but there are certain red flags when parents should alert their child’s doctor.
We hear a lot about autism. Early detection of autism or any developmental delay is important so that a child can receive help early. Early detection and intervention makes a huge difference for children! Your child’s doctor should be looking at your child’s growth and development at each well child check. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a child’s physician screen for developmental delays or early signs of autism at 9 months, 18 months, and 24 to 30 months. Parents too can look for red flags that may need to be discussed with their child’s doctor.
Age 2 to 3 months
- Your baby does not make good eye contact with you.
Age 3 months
- Your baby does not smile at you.
Age 6 months
- Your baby does not laugh.
Age 9 months
- Your baby is not babbling or making consonant sounds.
Age 12 months
- Your baby does not turn to you when you call his or her name.
- Your baby does not wave bye bye with encouragement.
Age 12 to 14 months
- Your baby does not have any words.
Age 14 months
- Your baby does not point at things.
Age 18 months
- Your baby does not pretend.
Don’t panic if you do not see one of these milestones, many times with encouragement or by providing increased opportunity children reach the milestone. However, a conversation with your child’s doctor is important. Because you are a parent, you know your child best! If you have concerns, be sure that you insist that you have time to discuss them with your child’s doctor. Every state has an early intervention program that can assess if a child has a developmental delay from birth to age 3. These programs are free and referrals can be made by a health care professional or by a parent. Indiana’s early intervention program is First Steps. Any parent can access their states early intervention program by calling The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities at 1-800-695-0285. This center can give you your state’s early intervention program’s contact information.
If your child is age 3 or older and you have concerns, the public school system will complete the evaluation. Contact your local elementary school or school board and they will give you the information needed to obtain developmental screening for you child.
Most importantly, if you are concerned about your child’s development, don’t wait! The earlier your child gets help, the more successful it is! You are the parent, you are your child’s advocate!
Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.