Your Child and His Development
|   Nov 16, 2014
Your Child and His Development

A constant question that plagues the mind of parents – Is my child developing fine? Is he achieving his milestones on time? I hope there is no problem that develops suddenly affecting my child’s growth and development.

Developmental milestones relating to physical, emotional, social, verbal and other skills is a largely talked about area. Most parents do tend to be very aware of what their child needs to be doing or needs to be like at a certain age. Almost all parents wait expectantly for their child to achieve his developmental milestones, frequently even comparing to other children or siblings and their developmental trajectories.

Worries for parents start arising when they begin to notice that there may be some delay in the development of their child and that is when you would start approaching various practitioners, starting with the pediatrician, sometimes considering an occupational therapist, a physiotherapist, speech therapists, neurologists and even psychologists.

Signs that could indicate a problem in development

There are a number of different problems that exist relating to children’s growth and development. However, early identification of a problem is the key to ensuring that the child is able to overcome the challenges pertaining to his development. The only way to ensure early identification is to be aware of some key signs and symptoms which could indicate the presence or potential development of a problem:

  • Lack of eye contact.
  • Not responding to familiar sounds or to his name.
  • Does not pay attention to new stimuli in the environment.
  • Not recognizing familiar figures like parents or show attention and affection towards them.
  • Is not easily comforted by the age of 5 months.
  • Does not show any interest in games like peek-a-boo.
  • Does not reciprocate by laughing or smiling or generating a sound by the age of 1 year.
  • Delay in development of motor milestones like crawling, walking or running.
  • Delay in development of speech. Typically children start babbling by the age of 4-6 months.
  • Non usage of two word sentences by the age of 2 years.
  • Uses primarily signs to communicate his needs at the age of 2 years.
  • Does not engage in play with other children his age.
  • Does not understand the use of simple objects.
  • Gets fixated on particular objects and does not easily let go of them, feeling extremely distressed if forced to.
  • Repetitive behaviors like flapping of hands or wanting to twirl in circles.

Things that can aid in proper development

As parents, the challenge also is to determine ways in which to ensure that the development and growth of your child is happening in what is considered to be the normal way. It is a fact that in conditions which are genetic, hereditary or biological, there is not much which can be done to prevent the onset of the condition. However, it is also a known fact that providing the right kind of stimulation can allay the impact of existing conditions and can also prevent the onset of conditions that are related to the environment.

The following are some things which can be kept in mind in order to aid in the developmental process:

  • Provide adequate stimulation to your child. Do not over stimulate or under stimulate as both can have detrimental effects.
  • Depending upon the age of your child encourage him to do more and do not be fearful that he may get hurt in trying out new things or activities. Just ensure that you or another adult is present to ensure no untoward event occurs.
  • Communicate more with your child by talking, reading to him, singing while also encouraging the child to imitate you.
  • Reinforce and acknowledge each time your child does something good. It would encourage the child to try more things.
  • Provide the child with a colorful space and also encourage him to use toys and games which also make some noise.
  • Provide more opportunities for your child to be around other children his age.
  • Allow your child to explore the environment around him.

Always remember that development is a continuous process and it can get stuck at any point as well. There are conditions which tend to develop after a few years of a child having developed normally as well. For you as a parent it is essential to keep a track of your child is progressing. It does not mean becoming obsessive about it, but being aware and somewhat vigilant in a healthy manner so that you do not miss out on some of the cues that may indicate that there could be a problem or one which may develop. As soon as you do notice something being difficult, reach out for help immediately and do not delay the process.

When it comes to development related problems early identification and early intervention are the keys!

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