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Development delays – not always reason to panic

Nicky Manson
From the minute your child is born, friends, family and even doctors, will talk about his milestones. 

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From smiling at six weeks old to sitting at a few months to waving, crawling, walking and speaking, each milestone occurs around a certain age and as you track your child’s developments, it's natural to wonder (and even worry about) whether he/she is on par with his/her peers.

To limit your worry, it’s important to keep up with your pediatrician and doctor’s check ups, as they will monitor a baby’s developments and will immediately flag any problems. It’s important too, to realise that not all kids develop at the same rate and some milestones may be reached a few weeks or months late. My friend’s son walked at nine months. My eldest only walked at one-and-a-half and, in hindsight, I think I got the better deal!!

Equally important is the fact that prem babies will reach milestones later than their contemporaries but should catch up by the age of two.

A developmental delay can occur in the gross motor skills such as sitting up; the fine motor skills such as grasping and manipulating objects; communication and language skills – speaking & understanding; self-help skills like toilet training and social skills such as being able to play with others.
It's interesting to note that while development tends to unfold in a typical progression – babies crawl before they walk, make sounds before they talk – some kids are just different, and may skip crawling altogether, going straight to walking.

What's most important is to ensure the child is making forward progress in all domains. Keeping an eye on the reached milestones and having regular checkups will help with early intervention, which can make a huge difference for children with developmental delays. 
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