Developmental Differences

All children have their own unique profile of strengths and challenges and their own pace of development. Since most of us live in communities where we and others compare our children, it can be easy to get hooked by thoughts that our child is different from others, and sometimes in a way that makes us feel anxious – for example, if they are slower than our friends’ children of the same age to learn to talk or walk. Most often, there’s nothing major to worry about. If you’re worried now though, your health visiting team are probably a good point of contact as they can either reassure you or refer you on to a paediatrician who will be able to reassure you if the health visitor didn’t or arrange more assessment if that is appropriate. Assessment can then help identify if any support is needed and if so, what.

One of my professional interests is in the field of autism, and often it is during the toddler stage that differences related to autism can start to become more obvious, although as a parent if professionals aren’t concerned you might reasonably decide to watch and wait for a while, as the breadth of “normal” is pretty broad until children get to mid-primary school stage.

For any parent looking for information relevant to autism and the early years, this article has some useful info – https://healthtalk.org/parents-children-autism-spectrum/early-signs-of-children-on-the-autistic-spectrum-developmental-milestones, additionally looking on the National Autistic Society website might be helpful http://www.autism.org.uk

For any parent who goes through an autism assessment in their child’s early years, a wonderful blog post by Russ Harris written shortly after his own child’s autism diagnosis might resonate and be helpful as a guide for how Acceptance and Commitment Therapy ideas can help at this time in your lives – https://contextualscience.org/blog/act_grief

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