Childhood is a time of tremendous growth and learning. How very exciting to be a baby…or a two-year-old… or get on a school bus for the first time. There’s so much to know!
We all come into the world like small waiting sponges, ready to absorb what’s around us. Yet we’re all different, too—another of life’s little marvels. We also develop at different rates. Some children speed along, practically running before they walk. Others take their time–or need more time. And still others may ultimately need four wheels to get around.
Parents, siblings, grandparents, teachers, and friends watch eagerly for each new step and progression in a child’s skills. If a skill is not learned “on time,” they may worry. Juan’s not sitting up yet, but the baby next door is. Hannah should be talking in full sentences by now!
But what’s “on time”? What’s “normal”? Does “normal” have a range? What happens when this new child has a disability? What if there are health problems? What if, as time goes by, it seems as if the child isn’t learning and progressing as quickly or easily as other children?
Yes, “normal” has a range, but growth does tend to follow a certain sequence. Skills are expected to emerge at more or less at certain ages. The CDC has a great booklet available called Milestone Moments.
And if you know your child has a delay, knowing these milestones are still important. Knowing what skill comes next, even if it comes at a slower rate, will help you help your baby develop and learn.
- Developmental Milestone Resources CDC
- Developmental Monitoring and Screening CDC
- Parenting Video Library Illinois Early Learning Project videos show a variety of family activities that help infants, toddlers, and preschool-age children learn about the world.
- Developing Social Emotional Skills Zero to Three
- Social Emotional Development for Toddlers Mi Kids Matter
- Social and Emotional Health: a Guide for Families with Children Birth-8 Years Michigan Great Start
Children experiencing developmental delays are more like a typical child than different. If you know your child has a delay and/or disability, knowing these “typical” milestones is still important. Knowing what skill comes next, even if it comes at a slower rate, will help you help your baby develop and learn.
To start the evaluation process for a young child, contacting the right agency is the first step.
- Birth to three years old: How To Make A Referral to Early On®
- Three to five year olds: Build Up Michigan
- More on Evaluation