Milestones Matter: Pediatrician explains importance of catching developmental delays early onPosted: October 16, 2018
How do you know if your child is on track with his or her development? What are the early signs of autism or other developmental disabilities? Thanks to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Learn the Signs. Act Early. campaign, you can make sure that you are equipped to track your child’s developmental milestones and compare them to the milestones of other children the same age.
What are developmental milestones?
Put simply, developmental milestones are functional skills that most children achieve by a certain age.
Jake said his first word, “Dada,” around 7 months of age, and he keeps making more and more sounds. Peek-a-boo was his favorite game to play between 9 and 10 months. He seemed to love the reactions from his parents when he “discovered” them from behind those small hands. He took steps by himself two days after his first birthday. He’s starting to point to show what he wants.
How’s Jake doing with his learning and interacting? We can find out by comparing his developmental milestones to standard lists matched to average ages of when milestones are met by many children. Children reach developmental milestones in how they play, learn, speak, act and move. Developmental milestones include skills such as:
- Sitting without help
- Taking a first step
- Smiling for the first time
- Saying single words
- Waving “bye-bye”
- Other social, emotional and physical milestones
Be sure to ask your doctor about developmental milestones at your child’s routine checkups. If your child is not meeting the milestones for his or her age or if you think there could be a problem with the way your child plays, learns, speaks, acts or moves, talk to your child’s doctor and share your concerns. Don’t wait. Acting early can make a real difference!
Free Milestone Resources for Parents
Parents and caregivers can follow along with the developmental milestones listed and described in the CDC’s Learn the Signs. Act Early. national educational outreach program. The campaign promotes awareness of:
- Healthy developmental milestones during early childhood
- The importance of tracking each child’s development
- The importance of acting early if there are concerns
Early developmental intervention helps children improve their abilities and learn new skills. The free Act Early materials are based on information provided by experts in the field of child development, so you know you can trust that the information will be accurate to help your child develop to the best of his or her ability. The materials also include tips and tricks to encourage good developmental progress at multiple time points. You can begin activities that help promote development right now such as:
- Reading to your child every day
- Teaching your baby how to self soothe
- Playing peek-a-boo and hide-and-seek
- Providing safe places for your baby to explore
Download (or order) your own free resources from the Act Early website to help you understand, prepare for and celebrate the amazing things your child is learning. Most of the resources are also available in Spanish. A popular resource is the free “Milestone Tracker” app for iPhone and Android (from Google Play or Apple App Store on smartphones).