Assessing Developmental Delays

Parents often get concerned when a child doesn’t do something by the age he’s “supposed to.” It’s even worse when a friend or relative is telling you all the amazing things his child is doing that yours is not.

Your child should be getting regular wellness examinations to check not only his health but also his growth and development. At those examinations his doctor should be performing a more formal evaluation of his development, looking not just at 1 or 2 skills but at whole clusters of developmental milestones.

There are tools to help identify children at risk for developmental delays:

  • Ages and Stages Questionnaire
  • Modified Checklist for Autism In Toddlers
  • Others

When problems are identified, your child’s doctor can refer him to specialists who can determine whether your child might benefit from developmental services. As long as those periodic evaluations are normal, you can rest assured that your child is developing normally and should be fine.
Among the greatest joys of parenthood is watching your child develop and learn new skills. As a parent you’re teaching your child constantly, whether or not you’re even trying. He is watching your every move, and over time his speech, walk, even facial expressions will come to mirror yours. All the while, he’s teaching you, helping you become a more responsive dad and eventually bringing you facts, music, adventures, and philosophies you would never have encountered without him. As the umpire says, “Play ball!”

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