From the day a child is born, he/she will begin to achieve various milestones. As your child develops and grows, it is critical to remember that each child is different from one another. There is a wide range of what is considered to be “typical” development. As a parent, you are the primary monitor of your child’s social and emotional development, but you should also take your child to his/her well visits so your pediatrician can monitor your child’s progress.
The relationship between a parent and physician is extremely important – it’s the best way to monitor the development of a child. A parent brings powerful observation and experience, reinforced by a sense of love and responsibility, while a physician monitors a child’s physical, cognitive and emotional development at each visit. Through observation, measurement, screening, and discussion with parents, a physician can evaluate the development of your child.
If you have concerns: ACT!
If you and your physician have concerns about your child’s developmental progress, take action and arrange for a routine developmental screening.
You know your child best of anyone. “Don’t worry,” does not mean, “don’t take action.” Many children go undiagnosed because parents are told to give it more time. If you sense there is an issue, press your physician to evaluate your child – or send you to someone who will. Monitoring your child’s social, emotional or communication skills are just as vital as responding to any physical concerns you may have about your child.
While you may feel embarrassed, confused or worried, please remember you are not alone – your physician has probably heard it all. If your child is not meeting his/her developmental milestones, take that first, key step to getting help.
In Palm Beach County, there is a separate confidential and free of charge 211 HelpLine, designed specifically for special needs, which supports the families by providing answers and referring to resources. There, you can also find information about support groups, upcoming events, et cetera.
Early Steps, within the Division of Children's Medical Services, serves families with infants and toddlers, birth to 36 months of age, who have developmental delays or an established condition likely to result in a developmental delay. Each child receives an Individualized Family Support Plan (IFSP) that meets his or her needs. Families and caregivers also receive support to develop the skills and confidence they need to help their children learn and develop.