It’s scary to notice something different about your baby or child. Maybe they don’t make eye contact or seem extra afraid of strangers. Maybe your baby isn't sitting up, crawling or walking as early as other children you see. Or maybe they aren't speaking as early. Something’s nagging at you, but you just can’t put your finger on it.
No one wants to believe that something might be going on with their child. Just thinking about it is enough to send your heart racing.
For parents, denial is a common and sometimes helpful tool. We often want to believe something isn't serious, and denial can give us the space and time to get ready to face it.
But if you’re reading this, chances are that you’re probably ready to move beyond denial and find out what is going on.
It may be hard to get support at first. Your friends, family or even your doctor might tell you that “all children are different,” leaving you feeling alone in your worries. But trust your gut instinct and don’t give up. You know your child better than anyone else.
If you suspect something is different, it’s important to do two things:
Many times, getting your child into care early can help them have a much easier time in life. So, take a deep breath, call your child’s doctor and give yourself a high five for moving forward.
A developmental milestone is something that a typically developing child should do within a certain age range. There are many kinds of milestones.
A few examples are:
Each child hits their milestones at a different rate. For example, a typically developing child should start walking anywhere between 9 and 18 months old. If your child is running late on one milestone, it might not be a big deal, but it’s still worth checking out.
See our pages that list the developmental milestones:
You might be worried about a friend or loved one's child. You care and want to help, but you know that talking to their parents could be extremely awkward.
Here are some tips for bringing up your concerns:
“My son was a micro-preemie and was in isolation for the first 14 months of life – first in the hospital and then at home. When we finally got to an Early Childhood Intervention program, I thought that they were miracle workers. He pushed up to sitting the first week, started crawling the second week and started pulling up to standing the third. I realized later that the work we did at home, with direction from a therapist, helped prepare him for all this, but at the time, I was just so thrilled to see him doing all these things finally.”
“My first child started having seizures at 6 months old. I was so concerned and busy with trying to control her seizures that I didn’t notice how far behind she was on her milestones. We finally got to a speech therapist when she was 2 and that’s when the whole world opened up to us. I found help with services, was taught skills to help her and met other parents with children like mine for the first time.”
It’s a big step for any parent to start exploring what’s going on with their child and to talk to a friend or doctor about it. But parents have told us that getting support and answers is also a relief—and lets them give their child what they need.