Monday, October 24, 2011

Child Development and the Delayed Child

Many of us have and or work with children who are developmentally delayed. And as parents, many of you give up reading child development books and looking at the charts. The thing to remember is that the books and charts still apply. Your child may not walk between 12-15 months or sit up around 6 months, or crawl 9-11 months. But that doesn't mean your child won't do these things. The steps on the developmental path are the same for every child, some are just a bit slower than others. So instead of looking at the ages that children should reach certain milestones, just look at the next couple of skills they need to master. That way you can help them move along the developmental path and not get quite so discouraged at how "behind" they are. And yep, here it comes: try not to compare your child to other children their age or how their older siblings used to be. I totally get that it is hard, I have to stop myself with my own daughter all the time. Actually I still struggle with it. She is almost 5 and my nephew is almost 4. They are 13 months apart but he was talking very intelligibly LONG before my daughter was and I admit I got a bit freaked out by that. But then I started comparing other aspects of their development: her motor skills were WAY beyond his, her ability to problem solve was a bit scary if you ask me. Her sense of rhythm is amazing (and that's not just the proud mommy talking, that is also an observation from a few different musicians we know). She is oh so very much more social than he if you are going to compare (and you will) remember to compare all aspects of the children, not just the one that you see as a failing. You might be surprised at how much your child CAN do. As a society we are conditioned to look at all the negative things in life and we forget to see the whole picture, see your child as a whole picture and don't fret, they'll get where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be there. (Wow, how's that for a deep philosophical thought way to early in the morning?) And don't forget that even typical children develop at different speeds, don't fret about when your child hits certain milestones just help them work to achieve them.

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