What are Developmental Milestones?
During the first year of life, your baby changes in many ways. Not only is your baby growing at a rapid rate, but she is also learning valuable skills that will shape her life. Oftentimes, we categorize developmental milestones into four or more different categories, including: motor, sensory, communication, and feeding. For example, there are a list of items in each category for various age groups, such as 0-3 months, 4-6 months, and so on, which describe what your child should be doing. Well-child appointments are integrated into the healthcare system, as a means to monitor and track your child’s progress in meeting these appropriate developmental milestones. There are screening tests and questionnaires physicians administer to ensure your child is on track. However, there are instances where a child may score “average” on a test, but they still seem to be falling behind their peers. In some cases, your child may require physical, occupational, or speech therapy to help them achieve their age appropriate milestones. It is recommended early detection is best, so if you feel something may be wrong, or your child is having difficulty with a certain area, you are encouraged to speak up and seek help. Your child’s doctor is a great resource.
How can therapy help my child with Developmental Delays?
During the first few years of life, your child has the capacity to learn new skills at an exceptional rate. Therefore, if your child seems to be having difficulty with certain tasks, it is best to seek help earlier rather than later. In certain cases, a child may require more than one form of therapy to help them achieve their milestones, as many of the skills are related in some way. Pediatric therapists work closely with the family, communicating regularly to create the best treatment plan for you and your child. Working with your child through interactive play, the therapist develops an individualized treatment plan that encompasses all the skills necessary to achieve your goals.
For more information on developmental milestones, check lists, brochures, fun ideas, and ways to encourage your child’s development, visit Pathways.org