There are many perks to being the oldest child; every little milestone is tracked, celebrated, and recognized. Everything from my first words, to walking, and even toilet training, it was an exciting time for my parents to watch me grow. There was a sense of anticipation with each milestone, and as I learned new skills, they looked forward to what I’d be learning next.
I was able to experience a little bit of that excitement when my youngest sister Elizabeth was born. I love thinking back to being 12 watching Elizabeth grow and develop. I remember when she started eating solids, when she began to crawl, and when she started to walk and talk. It was always enjoyable to talk with my parents and ask about my own milestones as a baby; each of my siblings and I walked at different ages; we had different first words and spoke at different times; we all grew and developed at different paces, yet all accomplished those milestones, eventually.
Just like in my family, there may be developmental differences between each of your children of when they learn how to perform a new task. Although it’s easy to compare each of your children to the other, it’s okay to be occasionally concerned if your daughter isn’t doing different tasks that her brother did at that age. Remember, each child is different, and with their unique temperament and personalities they will reach milestones on their own with the right encouragement and opportunity to learn.
At Help Me Grow Utah, we help parents track your child’s developmental milestones through the Ages and Stages Questionnaire. We use this screening to look at 5 main areas of development: Communication (how your child speaks to you), Gross Motor movement (big muscle movement like kicking a ball), Fine Motor movement (little muscle movement, such as picking up small objects using a “pincer” grasp), Personal-Social (how children develop emotionally, learning right from wrong, making friends), and Problem Solving (ability to work through the process of a problem and reach a solution).
Differences in your child’s development don’t always mean that your child has a developmental delay. In fact, it probably means your child needs to be given the opportunity to learn a new task which they haven’t been given before. My cousin Matthew at age 4 learned how to button a shirt for the first time; not because he was lacking in fine motor skill, he simply hadn’t been given the chance to learn how to do up a button because most of his clothing zipped, slipped over his head, or was tied. Help Me Grow Utah provides you with a list of activities that you can do with your child to strengthen these five areas of your child’s development. And remember, with time and patience and encouragement from you, your child will not only learn new things, but those new skills will be used as building blocks for your child’s ongoing development.
You can complete an ASQ here: https://previous.helpmegrowutah.org/your-developing-child/developmental-screening. Following completion of the questionnaire, you will receive a phone call from our team of parent support specialists to briefly go over the results with you. If you have any questions about the ASQ, or about enrolling in Help Me Grow, give us a call at 801-691-5322. We are always happy to help and look forward to serving you where we are able.