Q: My one-year old daughter has not started talking or walking. My friend has a child about the same age who seems developmentally further ahead. Do you think there is something wrong with my daughter?
A: Children develop at their own pace, and not all children are walking and talking by age one, the Help for Families panel says.
"Development is not linear," panellist Denise Continenza says. "It's like a roller coaster. A child might develop more slowly in one area than another. The range for development is so wide."
It's not abnormal for a one-year-old to not walk or talk, panelist Bill Vogler says. "That's still within the normal developmental range," he says.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, at age one, most children will respond to language and might say single words like mama or dada. Most kids will be able pull themselves up to stand and move holding on to furniture.
Talk to your doctor about your child's development, suggests panelist Pam Wallace.
"A lot of parents have anxiety about meeting developmental milestones," she says. "Learn more about milestones. Being overly concerned can cause problems. Children develop at their own pace with your support."
Be careful about comparing your child to other children, Continenza says.
"There are always kids who are doing better than other kids and others who are doing less," she says. "There is so much parental peer pressure."
If a parent is constantly worrying about a child meeting developmental milestones, it can lead to anxiety in the child as they get older, panelist Chad Stefanyak adds.
"If a parent is getting worked up, take a couple deep breaths," panelist Joanne Nigito-Raftas says. "It's going to be a long road. There any many more milestones that a child may and may not reach."
TIPS FOR CONCERNS ABOUT DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES
- Educate yourself about the range of development.
- Talk to your doctor (or Plunket) about your child's development.
- Don't compare your child's development to other children's.
- Consider getting your child evaluated for early intervention services.
- Relax and don't get anxious about perceived delays.