Monitoring Child Skills Development

The early years of a child's life are very important for his or her health and development. Healthy development means that children of all abilities, including those with special health care needs, are able to grow up where their social, emotional and educational needs are met. Having a safe and loving home and spending time with family, playing, singing, reading, and talking are very important. Proper nutrition, exercise, and rest also can make a big difference.


Healthy Skills Development

Childs skills such as taking a first step, smiling for the first time, and waving "bye-bye" are called developmental milestones. Children reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, behave, and move (for example, crawling and walking). Children develop at their own pace, so it's impossible to tell exactly when children will learn a given skill. However, developmental milestones can provide a general idea of the changes to expect as a child gets older. If a parent observes that the child may have a developmental delay, it is important to get help as soon as possible. When a developmental delay is not detected early, and the child has to wait to get the needed help, it can make it harder for the child to learn when he or she starts school.

Monitor Child Skills

As a parent, you know your child best. If your child is not meeting the milestones for his or her age, or if you think there could be a problem with the way your child plays, learns, speaks, or acts, talk to your child's doctor and share your concerns. You can use the milestone review to track your child's development. However, milestone reviews are not a substitute for standardized, validated developmental screening tools. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children be screened for general development using standardized, validated tools at 9, 18, and 24 or 30 months and for autism at 18 and 24 months or whenever a parent or provider has a concern. Ask your child's doctor about your child's developmental screening.

Developmental screening is a free short questionnaire developed to identify if a child skills are at the desired level, or if there are delays that requires attention. By entering an email address and child name, the parent is able to perform a short screening and progressive developmental monitoring at the appropriate child age.