Asking Is Advocacy: Demystifying Developmental Milestones
A developmental milestone is a checkpoint for growth in the average developing child. While every child gains a variety of skills at their own unique pace, one child may walk “early” but talk “later,” and another may do just the opposite. Developmental milestones are a way of determining what an average child can do at a specific age.
Milestones fall into five main areas of child growth and development. These are physical development (both gross and fine motor skills), cognitive development (thinking and problem-solving skills), communication (speech and language skills) and social and emotional skills. As children grow, the ways they move, play, interact with others and communicate demonstrate new skills that represent milestones in their development.
Being aware of typical developmental milestones is important for several reasons.Understanding whether your child’s development is more or less “on schedule,” based on milestones, can help parents feel less anxious and more confident. If you have concerns about your child’s growth or skills, developmental screening can help provide answers and possibly early intervention to help your child.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control offer a FREE mobile app in English and Spanish to check in on and track your child’s developmental milestones. The Milestone Tracker App can be personalized to follow your child’s development and offers information on specific milestones, as well as tips and activities to support them.
Remember, asking is advocacy. If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s development and developmental milestones, speak to their healthcare provider. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends regular developmental screenings in the first three years of a child’s life, or whenever a provider or parent has a concern.