Developmental Milestones: When to Worry and What to Do

By Christy Lenahan - Macaroni Kid Content Contributor July 25, 2018

A few days ago, I was sitting on one side of our living room while my one year old was contently

playing with some of her new toys. I called her name in an attempt to get her attention only to realize

she did not “hear” me. I tried several more times and again, no response. Of course, my brain began to

wonder – could she be deaf, is she being defiant at only one, is this one of those missed milestones? On

and on my mind wondered…I made noise after noise, louder and louder, and still no response! Being

slightly neurotic, I convinced myself there was something wrong…and then, after she became bored

with what she was doing, she responded to every noise I made. Apparently, she was so immersed in

what she was doing, the outside world was not important to her…or she was just ignoring me!

After this incident, I spent several hours reviewing normal development as it relates to

milestones and came across some useful tidbits of information. Your pediatrician is probably asking you

about milestones at each wellness visit. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children

be screened for general milestones at 9, 8, and 24 months. They also recommend screening for autism

at 18 and 24 months. As a parent, you can be proactive in tracking your child’s development by using

the CDC’s Milestone app (free and available for both Android and Apple). The app gives you a list of

questions to answer about age-related milestones as well as advice on when to act. If there are

concerns, it advises you to discuss them with your pediatrician.

For any type of developmental delay, early identification and intervention is key! Early

intervention results in improved outcomes for all involved, but especially for the child. It also allows

families to meet the child’s needs in an appropriate manner. Louisiana EarlySteps is a program,

available by referral, which provides early intervention services to families with children age birth to

three years who are experiencing or are at high risk for developmental delays. If you are concerned

about your child’s development, do not hesitate to speak to your pediatrician. It will be one of the most

important things you do for your child!