Is My Child Delayed?
Some common questions among parents, especially new parents, are: Is something wrong with my child? Is my child doing what they are supposed to be doing at their age? His/her sibling, cousin, friend's child is walking, speaking, or crawling and mine isn't, is something wrong?
A developmental delay occurs when a child has not reached their age appropriate milestones. Delays may be in gross motor skills such as running and jumping, fine motor skills such as holding a crayon or playing with small objects, socialization skills such as interactions with others and sharing, speech skills such as increasing vocabulary and putting words together to express their wants and needs, or cognitive skills such as exploring objects and make believe play.
Because parents spend so much time with their child, they are often the best at recognizing delays or concerns and wondering about the development of their child. If a parent or a doctor has concerns about a child's development, it is important to follow through with verifying the delay and seeking treatment. The early childhood years help form the child's development so the earlier the delay is discovered and treatment started, the better the outcome.
Developmental screenings should be part of the child's doctor visits at ages 9, 18, and 24-30 months, or whenever a parent has a concern. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report many children with developmental delays are not recognized by age 10 and therefore they have missed early treatment.
If a parent feels the child is not at their age appropriate developmental level, the CDC recommends:
- Having a discussion with the pediatrician about any concerns.
- Reviewing the milestone checklist for the child's age.
- Speaking to the pediatrician about a referral to a developmental pediatrician or neurologist for an evaluation.
- Calling the Early Intervention Program for an evaluation and possible services for children age three and under.
- Contacting your school district's child study team for an evaluation and possible services for children over three.
The fact sheets located on the CDC website, https://www.cdc.gov, include:
- Milestones checklists for ages two months through five years
- How to help your child
- How to talk with the doctor
The CDC's message to parents is: "Learn the Signs. Act Early." Recognizing and acting to provide interventions early can help children increase their skills or meet the milestones for their age.
Special Child Health Services message to parents is: When in doubt, check it out.
Visit the Sussex County Division of Health website at www.sussex.nj.us and select Special Child Health for direct connections to the CDC "Learn the Signs. Act Early" and Early Intervention Program websites.
Special Child Health Services provides case managers to assist parents with locating resources and connections to programs. Special Child Health Services is available for any child from birth through twenty-one who has special health care needs and at no cost to families. Contact our office for more information.
Special Child Health Services
201 Wheatsworth Road
Hamburg NJ 07419