There is nothing more beautiful than watching your child grow as each month goes by, however, development is not always linear. As parents, we are always on the lookout for any form of developmental delay.
If you’ve recently taken bub to a doctor, you may have noticed them searching for physical, social, emotional, cognitive or language milestones. Some of those milestones might include making or understanding sounds, how they engage with the world, how they bond with others, how they play and communicate, or whether they sit, walk, control their hands and more. Those milestones help rule out a developmental delay.
If your child does not reach these milestones, your doctor may mention a potential developmental delay. It is important to note that each child develops differently, and that is why we encourage seeking an expert opinion in the event that you are concerned about your child.
But how do you know whether there is a reason for concern without knowing what to look out for? And, is there anything you can do from early on to help improve your child’s brain development? What exactly are we looking for to pinpoint a developmental delay?
What can you do at home to help your child develop?
There are plenty of ways that your child can develop at home and one major key in development includes play. Play is a fantastic way to help children develop their vocabulary, cognitive, physical, social, literacy, problem-solving, creative and imaginative skills.
As your child is playing, encourage them to keep trying, reinforce their strengths, talk to them through the entire process, but still allow them to take the lead. For example, role playing is a fantastic way to get their little brains working, so hand them the stethoscope and allow them to diagnose you, or create your very own play set like this one.
It is also highly recommended to join a playgroup or regularly take your child to play centres so they can interact with other children. Assessing your child’s playtime can really help you to determine if something feels slightly out of the ordinary.
When should you be concerned?
Being a parent is already stressful, but focusing on your child’s development and obsessing over each milestone can make the process far more distressing.
Research is key. Understanding what your child should be doing at particular stages helps you determine if there is a cause for concern. Whilst there are endless articles online with information, we understand that sometimes it can become overwhelming. We are here to break down the basics for you or to give you a push in the right direction of where you can seek support.
According to Health Direct, a few things you can keep an eye on to track your baby’s development include:
- your child can’t seem to hear or see properly, nor move both arms or both legs
- can’t hold their head up by 3 to 4 months
- can’t sit well by 10 months
- doesn’t look at you or respond to sounds
- doesn’t want to stand up by 12 months
- does not seem to understand what you’re saying by 18 months
Where to next?
Remember that as a parent, you should always trust your instincts.
Early intervention is a support and educational system for young children who have developmental delays or disabilities. It has proven to substantially improve and enhance their development. The quicker you raise your concerns with your GP or pediatrician, the quicker you can rule out whether this is normal parental anxiety or something slightly more.
Your doctor may then refer you to an audiologist, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, psychologist, social worker, special education teacher or speech pathologist. They will work on therapy on your child and also provide you with the support you need. Thereafter, the team will create an individualised plan to support you and your child throughout their progress.
Remember that there are resources and support available for you. If things become stressful for you, make sure you reach out to those who can be of any assistance.
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