Family and parenting: how can you tell if your child is not developing properly?

Parents may feel that they should be concerned about some aspect of their child's development, including physically, emotionally, and socially.

Every parent wants their child to develop normally, and there are many areas in which a child will develop, including physically, emotionally, and socially. Often, parents may feel that they should be concerned about some aspect of their child's development; when in all actuality, the child is developing just fine. Obviously, some children develop and mature at a much faster pace than other children. While some children's motor skills may develop earlier, other children's social skills may seem more advanced. How do you know when you should be concerned about your child's development?

Since early intervention is the key to helping children who suffer from developmental problems, it is important that parents become aware of the various stages of development. Once a parent becomes more educated in what is the expected norm regarding childhood development, she will be more equipped to judge whether her child needs help. Hopefully, you have found a pediatrician whom you trust, and you have set up and kept regular pediatric visits with this doctor. If you have other concerns, you can also request developmental screenings to be given to your child. If your doctor doesn't take your concerns seriously, however, you may want to consider consulting another doctor for a second opinion.

Parents are often told to follow their instincts, and this is extremely true when it comes to picking up on whether you think there might be a problem with your child's development. When your child is an infant, he will go through rapid changes during the first months of his life. It is important that you pay attention to how he is developing physically and socially during this time period. Slow development or a lack of progression in any area may indicate a potential future problem.

While there are many milestones that your child will reach as she grows from a baby to a toddler, you should pay special attention to certain areas of her development. By the time your baby is three months old, she should be able to control her head much better than she did as a newborn. If you notice that her arms legs remain stiff much of the time, you should notify her pediatrician.

It is important that you note her posture. There may be a potential problem if she consistently arches her back, or she is limp and virtually floppy as you handle her. If you see any of these symptoms by the time your child is three months old, you should make an appointment with the doctor and voice your concerns. It is important that your three month old also show more social skills by smiling at others. If she isn't smiling, you should notify your doctor.

By the time your child reaches eight months of age, he should be able to eat solid food without pushing the food back out of his mouth most of the time. He should also be able to sit without support, and you should pay attention to how mobile your child is. If he only crawls using one side of his body or only using his arms, there may also be cause for concern.

As your child continues to grow, you should also pay attention to her weight gain. Five month old babies come close to doubling their original weight, and a one year old baby may triple her birth weight. By the time your child is two years old, she may have quadrupled her weight. Many children will have tripled their original height by the time they are four years old.

Social development is very important, and with the increase of documented cases of autism, comes the increase of concern among parents. If you are concerned that your child may have autism, you might want to pay attention to specific signs. If your child isn't smiling by three or four months of age, doesn't babble and use elementary gestures by a year, doesn't utter single words by sixteen months and short sentences by two years, you may want to consider having your child developmentally screened. If your child pulls back emotionally and doesn't maintain eye contact as he gets older, you may also need to have your child examined.

Remember, every child is different, and children will develop at individual rates. If you are at all concerned, however, you should set up an appointment with your pediatrician to have your child evaluated. Early intervention is the key to helping your child grow and mature successfully.

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