What is Child Development?

Children grow in many ways –from birth and throughout life. Development is based on how children mature in the way they play, learn, speak, act, move, and interact with others.

What is a developmental delay?

Most kids master specific skills at similar ages. Taking that first step, waving “bye-bye,” using the potty, and counting to 10 are examples of developmental milestones. If your child is a little later than most other children at reaching a milestone, it is often not a reason to worry. Each child develops at his or her own pace. But when a child falls far behind, or is not meeting many of these milestones, then it is time for parents and doctors to act as a team to find out why. Often, a child will need treatment or help to stay on track for reaching these milestones.

What is developmental screening?

During wellness visits, doctors or nurses may have parents answer some questions to find out if their child is reaching his or her milestones on time. Or the health care providers may play and interact with your child during an exam so they can watch how the child speaks, acts and learns. Based on exam results, some children may be referred to a specialist for more screenings.

Why is developmental screening important?

If a developmental delay is not found early, it may be hard for children to learn at school, keep up with other kids on the playground, or to be accepted socially. In the U.S., 17% of children have developmental delays. Less than half of those children need special help by the time they start school, because of early screenings and treatment.

If I think my child has a developmental delay, what should I do?

Talk to your doctor or nurse about your concerns. They may do further screening or send you to a specialist. They can refer you to groups for help, based on where you live. You can also find support online:

Center for Parent Information and Resources Library

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

To learn more about developmental milestones, click HERE

If you think your child may need help, act right away!