Childhood development milestones are a list of skills that children attain as they grow. Each milestone is appropriate to a certain age, and if a milestone is delayed or missed, it can raise concern that the child is not developing at the correct rate. If your child is missing developmental milestones, what does it mean?
Each child is unique, and if your baby doesn’t smile or grasp a toy at the same age as a sibling or neighbor’s child did, it doesn’t necessarily mean that something is wrong. Children develop at different rates, and milestones are a general guideline for professionals to gauge stages of accomplishment. However, in most cases a missed milestone will likely have a significant impact on cognitive development even if it’s only delayed by a month or two.
Milestones include the following:
- Gross motor skills: rolling over, sitting up, crawling, standing, walking and running
- Fine motor skills: using the hands and fingers to eat, dress, play and write
- Language skills: speaking, using gestures, and understanding what other people say
- Cognitive skills: learning, solving problems, remembering and reasoning
- Social skills: responding appropriately to others, having relationships with family and friends, and cooperating when required
Delayed or Missed Milestones
When a child doesn’t reach a milestone by the appropriate age, it is known as a delayed milestone. This may take the form of a transient developmental delay, which could happen because a baby was born prematurely, has been ill over a long period, or has gone through various environmental and family stresses. A child often catches up with these missed milestones and either sails through them or skips them altogether with no ill effects.
However, if a child exhibits persistent developmental delay, it means that the milestones are not only completely missed but also affect the development of the child. In these cases, it’s also likely that the child has retained primitive reflexes and even a slight delay can have long term effects on cognitive development as an adult. For example, if a child has not walked by the end of 13 months, he or she might be considered significantly delayed and will be more likely to also exhibit delays in speaking, reading, learning or social skill development – depending on whether it’s a left or right brain delay. Peripheral behavior patterns, such as temper tantrums, aggressive conduct, interrupted sleeping, repetitive body movements, anxiety and extra sensitivity to sights, sounds, tastes and touches, could also emerge. As such, the original developmental milestone delay has not been outgrown and can only be corrected with proper interventions.
What to Do If Your Child Is Missing Milestones
As a child grows, each skill is based upon a previous one. For example, your child is able to crawl because he has strengthened his leg muscles through kicking and turning over. Your toddler begins to say words because she has listened to and responded to sounds as a baby.
There are links between ADHD, learning disorders, autism and milestones that are delayed. If you believe your child is missing milestones and are worried it could be ADHD or possibly autism, take this free assessment. You’ll not only learn if your child has met their developmental milestones, but you will also receive proven exercises to help your child overcome developmental delays.
In order to improve your child’s behavior and ability to learn, early recognition and intervention are key. Take the first step and begin my free assessment today!