Assessing developmental milestones is a tricky and highly subjective issue when it comes to understanding how infants and toddlers grow – all parents worry at some point whether their children are growing "normally" and it is extremely difficult not to feel antsy if your child seems to be lagging behind in basic developmental milestones.
Recently my son was diagnosed with a "Global Developmental Delay" – which in layman’s terms means that he has not achieved some of the developmental milestones (i.e. standing, walking, understanding and saying a certain number of words, etc.) for a child his age (he’s 15 months).
15 months may seem early but doctors are now apparently able to diagnose autism (which falls at one end of the spectrum of conditions associated with developmental delays) in children as young as 15 months (although most won’t make a definitive diagnosis until the child is closer to 18 months).
My son has yet to walk or stand independently, which alone is not enough cause for much concern at this point (some kids don’t start walking until well after this age), but he has demonstrated other "red flags" in verbal communication skills, certain sensory integration skills, and other telltale signs including crawling with one leg off of the floor etc. Of most concern was the fact that he only scored a 66 on a standard intelligence test for which the benchmark score for kids his age should be at least 85.
Since then we’ve been prescribed a seemingly endless series of tests and assessments – including multiple blood tests, urine test, MRI, brainwave scan – in an effort to both rule out and pinpoint the underlying cause.
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Photo by Jerry Chan