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As your baby grows, take notes!

As your baby grows, take notes!

As your baby grows, you compare his development by the children around him or even by his siblings (his brother was able to roll at this age) or (his cousin walked at this age and he is not). It's normal to wonder in the first three years (as they are the development time) whether he is on the right track or no, but the difference in days or weeks doesn't really matter. As long as he will catch up the milestone with the expected age, everything is fine.

First you need to understand what a milestone means.

"It's the behaviors and physical skills seen in infants and children as they grow up and develop like rolling, crawling and walking and they differ according to the age." MedlinePlus

The developmental milestone scales varies from a source and another, but all of them follow the same standards. However, I'm going to mention the most important developmental milestones (head control, rolling, creeping, crawling, sitting and walking) along with the fine motor skills. Therefore, you need to read more about each stage as there are many details that you need to know and notice it as your child grows.

"for example, one 9-month-old may have very advanced motor skills because she loves to explore and interact through movement but not spend much time jabbering, while another baby the same age may be playing with syllables and calling you "mama" but be less adept at motor skills. "What's most important to track is that the child is making forward progress in all domains," Says Claire Lerner, child development specialist at Zero to Three, a national nonprofit promoting the healthy development of children.

"Among children with developmental delays, about 40 percent have more than one developmental issue, and less than 2 percent have three or more."

Early intervention is the key to save your child's situation from further deterioration. Once you start the treatment early you will have a remarkable recovery, while if you wait and didn't take an action the prognosis will be poor.

Gross motor development chart
Fine motor developmental chart 

Now after you know everything related to the normal developmental milestone, notice your child's growth; if he's on track then no need to worry but if he's behind by more than 2-3 weeks then you should start to worry. It could be a hearing problem (he doesn't react to the sound by moving toward the source), or his head is lagging (he can't control his head) and he's 4 months.

The cause of delay could be:-
1-Genetic (like in Down Syndrome kids)
2-Prematurity (Accidents, infections or radiations during pregnancy)
3-Lack of oxygen during birth (Major cause for Cerebral palsy)
4-Post maturity (Fever, infection, accident or drug abuse)

Who should I consult if I suspect any delay?
2-Pediatrician neurologist
3-Pediatric physiotherapist
4-Occupational therapist (for fine motor skills and sensory integration)
 This team usually sit together for the evaluation to know the diagnosis.

What type of treatment he will have?
In general, physical therapy and rehabilitation are the main lines of treatment for developmental delays. It comes in a form of planned exercises that aim to improve/facilitate a function/milestone. Whether it's for locomotion skills, fine motor or sensory integration.

Sensory integration therapy  is mainly to improve the delays in sensory system, such as eye-head coordination, weak sensation for objects (some children keep biting themselves without feeling it), problems in movement against gravity and not being able to sense the body in the space. It's the job of the occupational therapist to work along with the physical therapist to improve the child's daily  activity.

Examples of sensory integration 

 A sneak peek Inside a pediatric rehabilitation room!

Main components of a pediatric rehabilitation room

Head control exercise, by strengthening neck, abdominals and back muscles.

Hydrotherapy exercise for strengthening chest muscles

Walking within  a closed environment


Improving hand functions by the occupational therapist 

Facilitating trunk control 

Gait training
Balance Exercise

Vestibular rehabilitation for coordination by using the Spider cage
Training for walking using the walker
Sensory integration room

Sensory integration room for eye coordination
Can my child go to school ?

Yes, in each country there are schools for special needs and early intervention. They evaluate each child and depending on his level in motor skills and IQ they allocate him to a class. The teachers there are specialists in providing special care to the children and they know well how to deal with them.

Everyday there are new studies on the recent interventions for special needs children, there's a cure for everything but your job as parents is to learn and notice your child's growth. Don't hesitate to  go to Mother and child care centers, there are always screening for kids development which will teach about your child's development and alert you earlier if there's a problem.

Here are some stories for special need children who got recovered after rehabilitation. 


More about developmental milestone timeline:


Written by: Physiotherapist Ayaa Alghouti

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