Milestones, specifically developmental milestones, are skills that a child does before a certain age. We use milestones to navigate our child’s developmental health and to determine if they are developing as expected against the norms.
Parents and caregivers, especially in the early years of their child’s life, are constantly watching for milestones. We look at when our child rolled for the first time, what their first word was, how they have been socializing with other children. Children develop at their own pace and the range of “normal” is very broad when it comes to reaching important milestones.
It is hard not to compare our child to other children the same age and worry if they are on the same track. But remind yourself to take a step back and understand each child is on their own specific path of learning and developing. As a parent of a child with an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis be especially mindful of your child having his/her own route to development. Milestones come at different times and sometimes in different orders than a neurotypically developing child.
Children with an autism spectrum diagnosis tend to be late at meeting certain milestones. A lot of the time you will see, but it is not limited to, delayed or regression in language and communication, decreased eye contact, and reduced or delayed social skills. There are so many different milestones to track and lookout for it can become very overwhelming for a parent or caregiver.
The CDC has made an easy to follow comprehensive milestone checklist that can be printed and used to track your child’s progression (found here). Since most of us are also very active on our phones there is also a milestone tracker app as well to keep track of milestones.
I know it can be tedious but keeping up to date records of what and when your child has accomplished a milestone can be very beneficial to medical providers. Also having an idea as to what concerns you as the parent or caregiver may have towards your child’s development can be helpful. Doctors are better able to help direct parents in the right direction when they have a clear picture of what milestones your child has reached or is still working towards.
For most reading this, you likely had a concern with the way your child had been developing and you took a quick action and spoke to a medical provider. The early action and detection can really make a big difference in your child’s development.
As described in a previous blog (found here) applied behavior analysists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and physical therapists are some of the many different therapeutic options that can be used to help your child work towards different milestones. Milestones matter and the earlier you can get your child learning the better.
Here at ABA Autism Therapy, our dedicated professionals can assist your child in achieving developmental milestones. Contact us today to discuss how we can help!