Is Your Child on Track with Their Development? What You Need to Know About Developmental Milestones
You may have heard the saying, “If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?” The same theory applies to being aware of the developmental milestones for your baby, particularly if they have a hearing loss! It’s important for you to be aware of normal development so you can understand what skills your baby needs at each age and stage and help them move to the next stage of development. Knowing these milestones will also allow you to work with your LSL professional to monitor your child’s listening and language progress and to create a plan that will help you reach the goals you have for your child.
Hearing Loss and Development
Today, babies with hearing loss can be identified through newborn hearing screening, fit with appropriate hearing technology and families can receive early intervention to help them facilitate their child’s timely listening and spoken language development. However, children are often identified late, which can cause a progression in hearing loss, in addition to children not receiving appropriate amplification with their hearing technology. If the child is not hearing all spoken language occurring around them, their listening, language, speech, and social development will likely begin showing delays. For this reason, it is important for parents and professionals to closely monitor their child’s development overtime to ensure they are meeting developmental milestones and to identify any changes in hearing status. With hearing loss, addressing developmental concerns early can make a big difference for long term spoken language success.
Overcoming the Fear of Knowing
We know it can sometimes be scary to learn about milestones because of the potential for feelings of failure if your child hasn’t hit a milestone yet. Fear is a fickle thing because it convinces us that staying in one place, sometimes being a comfort zone of unawareness, is the easiest and most natural thing to do. However, there’s freedom in awareness! Freedom to adjust, set new goals, and keep moving forward. Knowledge is power, and being knowledgeable about these milestones will help you become abetter partner with your LSL professionals and better teacher for your child.
Guides to Grow
The best place to start learning about developmental norms is by first downloading a milestone guide that can show charts and timetables for mastery of skills before working with your LSL interventionist to understand how these milestones relate to your child’s goals. These guides can be broken down into the areas of hearing/auditory, cognitive, speech (sound production), language (listening, understanding, and using words), social/emotional and physical development. Here are some of our favorite resources:
Before You Go
Remember, every child is different. Just because your child does or doesn’t match up to a developmental milestone yet doesn’t mean they won’t reach the listening, talking and literacy goals you have for them. Knowing where they are developmentally gives you and your LSL provider a starting point for setting goals and moving forward, so you know what to do now and what to expect ahead. When you make sure your child is wearing the right hearing devices at all waking moments, attend regular sessions in LSL early intervention, and make LSL strategies a part of your daily life, you are doing what it takes to help your baby achieve their listening and spoken language goals!!
Needing a push of support to take the plunge into learning more about milestones? Join the Hearing First Family Support Community. Within the community, you can find research-based handouts and resources that are applicable for your child’s age and stage, sign up for free LSL courses, and connect with other members and let them know what you’re feeling! Sharing your fears, struggles, worries or challenges allows other families who have been on the same journey space to give helpful advice and cheer you on.