Is My Child Developing Normally?

Parenting December 19, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF
Image:CDClearn.pngParents who know the basic milestones in a child’s development are able to recognize delays and make sure their child receives help to address them.

Developmental Milestones

During their child’s early years, parents are keenly aware of changes in physical development, such as height and weight. But there are also important milestones children should reach in terms of how they play, learn, speak, and act. Smiling for the first time, making eye contact, and pointing are a few of these developmental milestones.

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Parents need to know about developmental milestones as they are an important way to track a child’s overall development. Also, the earlier a child with a developmental delay receives help, the better chance the child has to achieve his or her full potential.

Learn the Early Warning Signs of Developmental Problems

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has come together with a coalition of national partners to educate parents about childhood development, including early warning signs of autism and other developmental disorders. Their public awareness campaign, Learn the Signs. Act Early, advocates early action among parents and health care professionals. 

Parents and health care professionals can receive FREE materials, available in English and Spanish, that will guide them to know whether their child is on track or not.  As of now, about half of children with developmental disorders are not diagnosed until school age. But many signs of delay can be easy to see.

“By recognizing the signs of developmental disorders early, parents can seek effective treatments that can improve their child’s future,” said CDC Director Dr. Julie L. Gerberding.

Checklists of Normal Developmental Milestones

Every child is different and develops at his or her own pace, but most children reach major milestones within a certain range of time. Parents should learn the milestones, but recognize that their child might develop some skills earlier and some later than other children of the same age.

Parents can read and download milestone checklists for babies starting at 2 months up to the age of 5 years.

Next Steps for Concerned Parents

If parents suspect a delay, the first step is to consult the child’s doctor or health care professional. Sometimes a parent’s concern might be resolved by the passage of time, but in many cases taking a “wait-and-see” approach could delay opportunities to take helpful action.

If after talking with a health care professional, parents still have concerns, they can seek a second opinion. They could ask a pediatrician specializing in child development or another qualified professional. Parents may also contact their local early intervention agency or public school. Or they may find out about other resources and referral information in their local area by visiting:


Gain Access to the Many Resources of the “Learn the Signs. Act Early." Campaign


Source: Centers for Disease Control


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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.