You take your child to the pediatrician on a regular basis for physical exams to ensure that they are gaining weight and growing... But what about the other developmental areas that make your child the unique, special being you have come to love and adore?
A child’s development is comprised of more than simply physical development, other critical areas include:
Adaptaptive/Daily Living Skills
According to the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, 17% of children in the United States exhibit some form of communication or learning problem. Unfortunately, fewer than 50% of these children will be identified prior to entering elementary school. This is unfortunate as research suggests that early intervention, when needed, is one of the critical variables in a child’s prognosis. In addition, while children receive annual exams with their pediatrician to ensure healthy physical development, a recent survey reveals that 65% of pediatrician’s do not feel competent to assess children’s mental health and 64% do not feel that they have sufficient time to inquire about such issues (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2001). Therefore, it is increasingly important for parents to be aware of healthy milestones and warning signs so that they can seek out assistance if needed at the earliest time possible. This type of developmental surveillance is beneficial for all parents, not simply those who have concerns.
While it is true that no two children develop at exactly the same rate, the healthy milestonescan act as a guideline. If you notice that your child is consistently lacking certain skills in a given area or has not developed skills from an earlier age period, you may want to contact a child development professional to schedule an evaluation. Unfortunately, some developmental deficits are so subtle that it may be easy to overlook the issue or attribute the deficit to slow development.
If you have a concern, seek professional guidance. Don’t allow professionals to convince you to take a “wait and see” attitude. Don’t take comfort in the “he will grow out of it” or “she is a late bloomer” notions. It is important that you, as the parent, the expert on your child, closely monitor his or her progress and seek assistance if you have concerns, suspicions, or a “gut feeling” that something is not quite right.
The Unicorn Children's Foundation has a developmental specialist on staff that is available to discuss your concerns via email or phone 561.620.9377.