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Assessing Your Child’s Development

As a parent, you know your child best. You can tell when they are not feeling well or are struggling with something. That includes development delays. What are developmental delays? They could be a lack of verbal and non-verbal communication skills, poor emotional regulation, poor articulation and understanding of words and conversations, and much more. If you notice your child is delayed in something their sensory or communication milestones, what’s the next course of action? 

First, visit your pediatrician. Often, adoptive parents don’t have access to their child’s medical history. If that’s the case with your family, noting this early on and making sure you know what to look out for will be incredibly helpful. Have an open and honest conversation regarding your concerns about your child’s development, sharing what you’ve noticed and documented. Your child’s primary care doctor can then make appropriate referrals—whether to a speech therapist, behavioral coach, or another specialist.

The early years of parenting are a time to be present and engaged in your child’s development and wellbeing. There are many ways to turn your daily interactions into developmental exploration: immerse yourself in their favorite playtime activities, observe them with other children, or imitate their movements and play to get a better grasp on how they’re functioning. Treatment for developmental delays is often one of experimentation: finding the comfort zone of you and your child, and then pushing yourself outside of it. Therapies for delays in speech and cognition can be more than talk therapy—there are multiple activities you and your child can do to advance or “restart” a stunted learning system. Consider music classes, creative activities, or sensory engagement that challenges them to use and evolve their motor skills. 

If you think your child may be experiencing delays in development, contact your primary care physician to get an evaluation. Regardless of what happens, the timeline that is best for you and your child is the best timeline. Like all good things—change doesn’t happen overnight. We love this list from Autism Speaks, which offers a list of all the early intervention offices in the country. If you’re noticing that your child may be experiencing some delays, contact yours and get some support.