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Article Type: Blog

Is Your Child Hitting Their Milestones? A Developmental Screening Can Give You Answers

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Your child’s first smile, first steps, first words and first game of peek-a-boo can be thrilling moments in a parent’s life. They’re also what we call milestones — a behavior that typically starts at a certain age.

From the first weeks of a baby’s life, he or she is reaching many milestones in how they move, speak, learn and play.

Knowing what these milestones are gives you insight into how your child is growing physically, socially and emotionally. A delay in hitting milestones could also be a sign of a bigger problem.

You can watch for these milestones yourself. You can also enlist the help of an expert, who can provide what’s called a “developmental screening.”

Developmental screenings are designed to pick up such delays early. If all is going well, you will feel reassured. And if there is a problem, your child can start getting help for it sooner. That can make a huge difference in his or her success at home and school.

What These Screenings Look For

You know your child better than anyone. For the screening, the doctor or nurse may ask you questions about your little one’s milestones.

He or she may also talk and play with your child.

Developmental screenings can find signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This condition is called a “spectrum disorder” because it can cause a wide range of symptoms. The symptoms also vary in intensity. But all children with ASD have:

       Difficulty communicating and interacting with others

       Limited interests and repetitive behaviors

       Challenges in daily life

In addition, developmental screenings help find other problems with:

       Mental development

       Language skills

       Gross motor skills (such as sitting, crawling, and walking)

When to Have Your Child Screened

Ask your child’s health care provider to do a developmental screening at these ages.

Age

What the Doctor Checks

9 months

Delays in development

18 months

Delays in development, signs of ASD

24 or 30 months

Delays in development, signs of ASD

Any time you are concerned

Issues you’ve noticed at home

A screening alone can’t diagnose ASD or another condition. But it can show when more in-depth testing is needed. This testing is often done by a specialist.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has an app to help parents track their child’s milestones. To learn more about it, visit their website.

Just as they can be sources of joy when they’re hit, milestones can create worries if they’re missed. But catching these delays early gives you and your child the best chance of catching up.

We want to be alongside you for this journey, cheering you on during the good times and helping you overcome any challenges.

To learn more about our whole-health philosophy for children and families, visit our website.

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