Parents have often told me that they began studying developmental milestone charts when their child was an infant. They diligently tracked every successful moment of their baby’s development, sometimes even jotting it down in a baby book. Once their child no longer met those milestones, parents would often ask their friends and families for guidance. They would often be told not to worry or would be comforted by others saying that it was “just a phase.” Some parents even heard stories from other parents such as, “My son didn’t talk until 3, and now he’s fine.” This would result in the parents deciding whether or not to take any actions. Is it time to consult a doctor? A speech therapist? Some parents would choose to wait it out to see if their child would eventually “catch up”.
Here’s the thing, developmental milestone charts are not something that should be followed like a recipe. They are approximations for when a child is expected to meet a developmental marker (e.g., babbling); and are not set in stone. The cause for concern arises when a child is not meeting those expectations, one missed milestone after the other—or if there is a significant delay. I get it…”significant” is a completely subjective word. Here is where judgment and intuition will play a role.
We all know that many things in life are worth waiting for. Most, if not all of them, require action and commitment. Most people do not wait around for the love of their lives to come knocking on their door (even though I’m sure it has happened). People have to go out and meet others, strike up a conversation, share their lives, and put a ton of effort in keeping their relationships going. It takes work, just like any other success in life. The same goes for development. If you notice that a child is not making those developmental benchmarks—keep an eye out. Try to work with the child to see if there is any way to make some progress. This is where you will be able to see if you can make some headway, or not. If the child is still struggling, it’s time to consult a professional. If your gut feeling is that something isn’t right, trust it. It is better to have a consultation and find out that everything is fine, than to wait and have missed out on treatment that could have benefitted the child.
This is when parents have told me that the best decision they ever made was to get an opinion of a professional…early. Some received news that their child needed further testing, and others were told that there were no concerns. The earlier that it was discovered that a child had a need, the earlier the treatment began, and the better the outlook was for the child. Research has shown, time and time again, that early intervention provides a more positive prognosis than later interventions.
ALLS offers services that start in infancy, for this reason. Our infant/toddler classes, preschool, kindergarten, and early elementary programs target these developmental concerns early on in a child’s life. ALLS provides comprehensive services for speech and language skills, fine and gross motor development, as well as behavioral support, in a fun environment where children can thrive. We provide opportunities for children to maximize their abilities to learn.