In the U.S., developmental disabilities affect 1 in 6 kids. These conditions can cause delays in reaching childhood development milestones.
However, not all developmental delays are due to developmental disabilities. They can also arise from birth complications, premature birth, and genetic conditions.
Thus, parents must be aware of the most often-missed developmental milestones. That way, they can seek help if they think their little one has a developmental delay or disability.
This guide discusses such milestone-related problems below, so read on.
Development of Different Cries
Crying is the first form of communication babies learn and develop to express a need. They do this because they’re hungry, uncomfortable, or in pain. This type of cry becomes shorter and less frequent after the first three months of age.
From four months onward, most babies begin to become more vocal. As a result, they often develop different forms of cries.
For example, a cry that sounds like “n-e-h” often means “I’m hungry,” while “e-h-h” may indicate they need to burp. On the other hand, an “e-e-r-h” sound may be due to their tummy hurting, while “a-o-h” with yawns signals they’re sleepy.
Prolonged crying after trying to meet a baby’s needs may signal a health issue. However, it may also be a symptom of a developmental problem or disability. The same goes if their cries sound almost the same after they turn four months old.
Language and Speech Development
Babies typically begin their language and speech development at three to four months. At this age, they usually start babbling, cooing, and saying “mama” or “dada.” They also imitate sounds and respond to noises.
If your baby doesn’t exhibit one or more of the above, it may be time for a professional assessment. This way, a specialist can determine if your little one has a developmental delay or a disability. If it’s the former, your child may need speech therapy.
Autism spectrum disorder is a disability that can affect language and speech. It may impair communication, cognitive skills, and social interaction. It’s incurable, but autism therapy at home can help effectively manage its symptoms.
Gross and fine motor skills are the childhood movement milestones parents should monitor.
Gross motor skills involve using the body’s large muscles to make large movements. For example, at two months, most babies wave their hands and kick their legs. Then, by six months, they start rolling over and sitting briefly without help.
Fine motor skills involve using small muscles to move the eyes, hands, and fingers. For instance, at eight weeks, most babies can focus their eyes on people’s faces. Then, they learn how to grasp, pinch, and grip at five to six months.
If your little one misses those milestones, please contact their doctor. They may say your child only needs more physical activity for a developmental delay. However, the specialist may also recommend physical or occupational therapy.
Monitor These Childhood Development Milestones
Please remember that childhood development milestones provide clues about children’s developmental health. Most kids reach them at the same age, but some may take longer depending on their pace. Still, parents should pay attention to even slight delays, as they may be due to a health issue or disability.