Delayed or On Track?
Are you concerned that your child may not be developmentally on track with expected toddler milestones?
Development happens at different rates and every child is unique. However, are you concerned that:
- Your child seems to have fewer words than others his or her age?
- Your child doesn't seem to be acquiring the gross motor skills defined as “norms” for toddlers?
- Your child is exhibiting “different” social and emotional behaviors?
If you are concerned your child may not be meeting a milestone or milestones, it's time to take action – both for your mind and, most importantly, your child.
Early intervention is best. Many children have experienced delays or other developmental challenges. The good news? Many of them have overcome these issues and go on to be typical, healthy, and happy kids.
However, an issue that is left untreated most likely will not change itself. Although it may be difficult, perhaps even scary, to admit that your child may need help in an area of development, your child depends on you to be an effective advocate and work to make sure they can reach their fullest potential.
Where to start?
First of all, trust your instincts. There is something to that “mommy mind.” If you feel that something isn't quite on track, there are plenty of resources.
The first stop is to contact your pediatrician. This could be as simple as a phone call to discuss your concern. Remember, most times your pediatrician has only seen you and your baby for a few minutes each visit. It is important to be specific in terms of your observations and questions you have. Create a list of questions or concerns. If the symptom causing you concern is not always present, consider documenting with photos or video.
Next, your pediatrician may refer you to a specialist. Again, be “armed” and ready to discuss your concerns.
Be sure to ask the experts for other support resources. There are many local organizations within communities that are designed to work with young children and families who may be working through issues of developmental delay. Connecting with these types of organizations will not only give you more resources to help your child, but will connect you with people who can also provide support.
Don't forget what a wonderful resource the worldwide web can be. A simple search can provide you with additional information and contacts.
As you go through the above process, remember to be sensitive to your child. Although toddlers are little, they often have big ears. It's surprising what they really do understand!
Visiting doctors and other specialists may be a bit scary for you and your child.
Remain strong and supportive. Ask for support from family members or friends if/when you need it.