Child development is the studyof how children grow and develop over time from birth through adolescence. Although each child develops at a different pace, the skills they develop typically follow the same pattern and happens around the same time for the typical developing child.
This process of learning and growing is continuing. A child’s development is gauged by what is called developmental milestones. One example would be that most children start rocking back and forth on all fours and attempt to crawl, usually backward - around 6 months. Around nine months they may start trying to pull to stand. Moreover, that goes on until one day you watch them as they attempt to come to a stand without support. Some children walk as early as 9 or 10 months while others may not walk until after their first birthday, at 14 or 15 months. These children would be considered under typical development. If a child is not attempting walking, with or without support, during this time, a developmental screening may be in order.
A developmental delay is when a child is not meeting developmental milestones for their age range. A delay can affect how children learn and how they acquire more advanced skills as they grow. Kids develop skills in five main areas of development (Source):
1. Cognitive (or thinking) skills: This is the ability to think, learn and solve problems.
2. Social and emotional skills: This is the ability to relate to other people.
3. Speech and language skills: This is the ability to use and understand language.
4. Fine and gross motor skills: This is the ability to use small muscles (fine motor), particularly in the hands, and large muscles (gross motor) in the body.
5. Daily living activities: This is the ability to handle everyday tasks.
Regular developmental screening can help determine if a child is meeting their developmental milestones and if they need further assessment. When there is a doubt that a child is not following the typical trajectory, developmental screening is critical to that child’s development. When a developmental delay is not recognized early, children may require services to catch up. The earlier a child with a delay is identified, the sooner they can start receiving support for the delay and may even enter school better prepared to learn.
Though most pediatricians perform developmental screenings during a well-checkup visit, some doctors may only do it if they see a need for screenings. Though the information is more than 10 years old, the CDC published a study looking at how often healthcare providers asked parents about their young child’s development. Researchers from CDC and the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) found that, in 2007, only 1 in 5 parents were asked screening questions about their child’s development by a healthcare provider during the previous year. This is despite recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to screen all children for general development in the first few years of life. This study serves as a baseline assessment of the use of developmental screening before national healthcare changes were implemented.
As the CDC notes... Why It’s Important
“Many children with developmental delays or behavior concerns are not identified as early as possible. As a result, these children must wait to get the help they need to do well in social and educational settings (for example, in school, at home, and in the community).
In the United States, about 1 in 6 children aged 3 to 17 years have one or more developmental or behavioral disabilities, such as autism, a learning disorder, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder1. In addition, many children have delays in language or other areas that can affect how well they do in school. However, many children with developmental disabilities are not identified until they are in school, by which time significant delays might have occurred and opportunities for treatment might have been missed.”
If parents have concerns, they can always ask their child’s pediatrician for a developmental screening. As I Grow - San Antonio offers developmental screenings in community settings at no charge. The screening takes at most 30 minutes.
If there is a concern, please check our Calendar of Events for the next screening session, or send us a message.