Last week, the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics, (AAP) revised developmental milestones for children age 2 months to 5 years. The purpose of the updates is to help parents identify autism and developmental delays in their children, so that helpful interventions may occur earlier. Early intervention is a key factor in allowing children to reach their full potential. Baby Milestones: Updated details how milestone evaluation has changed since 2004.
Parents can use the milestone checklists to keep track of their infant, toddler and child’s development.
Baby Milestones: Updated – What’s Different?
Clearer Language and Narrower Age Ranges
According to the AAP, the revised developmental milestones “identify the behaviors that 75% or more of children can be expected to exhibit at a certain age…”. In the past, milestones contained vague language such as, “At this age baby may…” or “this behavior begins between 12 -17 months…” The updated guidance now includes specific checklists for ages 15 and 30 months to bridge any gaps between the previously longer ranges.
Development as a Continuing Discussion Between Families and Primary Care Providers
The new guidance is clear to say that parents know their children best and should not wait to contact a doctor with concerns. Further, that early childhood development should be an ongoing conversation between parents and doctors. To facilitate this conversation, the new guidelines contain a specific checklist for each well-child visit ( 2 months, 4 months, 6 months etc.) rather than checklists by age range.
Doctors and clinicians will also ask open-ended questions such as Is there anything your child does that concerns you? This will also encourage child development as a discussion.
Baby Milestones: Updated – Ongoing Resources and Tips for Parents to Use at Each Age
Expanded, appropriate tips parents can incorporate into developmental learning are now available. For example: Use “back and forth” play with your baby. When your baby smiles, you smile; when he makes sounds, you copy them. This helps them learn to be social.
The Milestone Moments checklist (below) details developmental milestones from ages 2 months to 5 years. The CDC’s free App, Milestone Tracker is also available. This may be especially helpful to parents of twins or children of different ages.
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