Why Should Your Child Have Developmental Screenings?

Your child’s growth, challenges, and needs change quickly in the early years of childhood. Keeping up as a parent can be overwhelming — it’s tough to understand baby babble sometimes.

Scheduling regular developmental screenings to assess your child’s progress is essential to staying on track and detecting any developmental issues, such as speech impediments or slow motor skill development. Dr. Rainilda Valencia at Valencia Pediatrics offers developmental screenings, along with advice for parents, to ensure every child thrives.

What are developmental milestones?

When we talk about child development, we often speak in terms of “milestones.” These milestones refer to an ability or characteristic that most children develop around the same time — for example, the ability to speak or walk.

Developmental milestones are categorized into four sections.

Physical milestones

These milestones involve large and fine motor skills. Large motor skills include the ability to sit up, crawl, stand, and walk, while fine motor skills include abilities like picking up objects, drawing shapes, and grasping a spoon.

Cognitive milestones

Cognitive milestone refer to your child’s ability to learn, think, and solve problems. Learning the alphabet, recognizing facial expressions, playing with puzzles or blocks, and sorting objects by category are examples of cognitive milestones.

Communication milestones

This involves both verbal and nonverbal communication. Some communication milestones include a baby’s first word, a toddler’s first coherent sentence, and a 6-year-old’s understanding of basic grammar.

Emotional and social milestones

These are often harder to pinpoint than the other types of milestones, because they occur at more varied rates among children. Social and emotional milestones include learning how to interact with other children of the same age, sharing, responding to the emotions of other people, and expressing new emotions of their own.

Why developmental milestones are important

Think of developmental milestones as a checklist for your child. Though development obviously varies from child to child, it’s important to know whether your little one is checking off abilities, skills, and characteristics that signal a healthy child.

To ensure your child meets milestones, you should schedule regular developmental screenings with your pediatrician. Developmental screenings can identify areas where your child is thriving, lacking, or right where they need to be.

During a developmental screening, Dr. Valencia evaluates all four milestone categories for your child’s age. She conducts a physical exam; observes your child’s movements and behaviors; asks your child questions; and uses other screening tools to determine your child’s developmental status.

Whether or not you’re concerned about your baby’s growth, Dr. Valencia recommends developmental screenings at 9, 18, 24, and 30 months. Depending on factors such as low birth weight, toxin exposure, or premature birth, Dr. Valencia might recommend more frequent screenings.

To learn more about developmental milestones or to schedule a screening, call Dr. Valencia today or request an appointment online.

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