For all the parents worried about their child's development... read on...
For all the mothers that are worried about their child’s development… please read this.
Ah, that age old saying ‘Every child develops differently and at different rates’…. If you’re reading this… you’ve heard it!
Every parent hears it at least a dozen, if not 1000 times when questioning their child’s development; and whilst I completely agree that it can be true; and often parents (especially mothers) worry unnecessarily about their children; this phrase is overused when a parent has legitimate concerns.
So… I’m here today to go against the grain and have a different opinion… (and if you don’t agree that’s is totally fine… read and ignore at your discretion!) If you are a parent who has the same ongoing concerns, then please explore your concerns further.
And whilst I love the support that mothers groups and community facebook groups provide; and completely value the opinions and experiences of other mothers; sometimes questions about your childs health or development are best explored with a qualified professional in the area of concern.
As an Occupational Therapist I have heard many times from parents coming to me with their 6, 7, 8 year old kids… ‘I was worried when my child didn’t crawl but everyone told me not to worry about it’ or ‘I’ve always had concerns but I was told (by friend, teacher, other) to give them more time and they will develop at their own pace’. These parents are often regretful that they hadn’t done anything sooner and I hate to see parents struggling with this; as you can only work with and make decision based on the information you have at the time (which is why it’s important to get information from the right sources).
From an OT developmental perspective, whilst there are things that your child may just need more time to develop, there are many key areas of development that if don’t happen within specific timeframes, can have significant flow on effects. Developmental milestones happen in a specific order for a reason, as the brain matures and new connections are made through the natural progression of milestones, it allows the next stage of development to occur.
For example if your baby does not roll well or for very long, it can influence the integration of primitive reflexes which affect most areas of development, as well as body awareness, vestibular integration (ability to understand and processing movement effectively), and visual perceptual skills. These skill deficits collectively can affect gross and fine motor development, ability to follow direction and understand positional language (over, under, next to etc), sit still and attend well to tasks and development of reading and writing skills. Therefore if you’re child is not quite where they should be in terms of developmental milestones, early intervention is the key to prevent further problems.
If you seek professional advice and there is really no concern then you’ve saved yourself lots more days and nights of worry and questioning; and if the professional does validate your concerns; then you are in the best hands to help your child further.