Measuring a child’s growth
We all know that we measure a child’s growth in terms of height and weight, but there are other important developmental processes taking place that we should monitor and measure. What I mean is that when parents understand the milestones that children should reach across social / emotional, language / communication, cognitive, and physical development / movement domains, they can better recognize delays and seek intervention if needed. Some milestones are quite obvious, such as first steps, and some are more subtle, such as eye-contact and gaze coordination. It is important to recognize a variety of these developmental milestones.
There are many helpful resources available, and the CDC has great checklists of what children should be doing across each domain at specific ages. In addition, the CDC has a free book, Amazing Me: It’s Busy Being 3, which demonstrates some of the less obvious milestones that three-year-olds should be able to complete. It is also fun for children and parents to read, and is interactive if read online.
If you recognize that your child is not meeting milestones in one or more of the areas, or is exhibiting one of the signs of developmental delay, you may want to mention it to your pediatrician. You may even wish to bring your child in for a neuropsychological evaluation to determine which strengths and weaknesses exist, and to learn what you can do to support your child’s development. An evaluation and the resulting recommendations may help you find the interventions that will be most beneficial to you and your child. Research has shown that the earlier an intervention can be put in place, the better the chances are for helping a child.