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Is my child’s development normal?

It is impossible not to compare your child with others – whether that be siblings at the same age or friends from day-care or mother’s groups.

 

We need to remember that infants and children will all develop at different rates depending on so many different factors, both genetic and environmental but what should you do if you have a real and persisting concern over your child’s development? Multiple studies will tell us that early diagnosis and instigation of therapies is essential in developmental disorders.  How can we ensure that we are picking up the diagnosis of these children early enough and where to go if you have any of these concerns?

 

Your family General Practitioner or your local community health nurse should be the first place for an initial assessment and conversation about your child. Community health nurses have standardised assessment tools to use and most GPs should be well versed in child development. The areas of a child’s development that need to be considered in a full developmental assessment are:

 

Gross motor

Fine motor

Speech and Language

Personal/social

Cognitive

General behaviour

 

The ‘Red Flags’ that parents can be aware of and should always be further reviewed include

 

regression or loss of abilities at any age

not rolling at 6 months

not sitting at 8 months

not crawling at 10 months

no babble by 12 months

no pointing by 12 months

no gestures by 12 months

not turning to name by 12 months

no single words by 16 months

not walking by 18 months

no word combinations by 24 months

 

As a GP with some years of experience in child health and developmental disorders the ‘red flags’ list is something I always have in mind but I have also learnt that a parents instinct are always to be considered first and foremost and listening carefully to their concerns is the right place to start.

 

This article was written by Dr. Susan Cann, and published in the Western Suburbs Weekly.

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