When To Refer A Child
Typically, a parent or guardian may be inclined to make a referral if they notice developmental delays present in a child.
What does “developmental delay” mean?
Medical professionals and early interventionists use this term when a child doesn't reach developmental milestones within the broad range of what's considered typical.
The delay might be in one or more areas:
Gross and fine motor skills (such as sitting up and grasping objects)
Communication and language skills (both "receptive," which relates to understanding, as well as "expressive," which relates to speaking)
Self-help skills (like toilet training and dressing)
Social skills (such as making eye contact and playing with others).
From An Expert
"It's important to remember that while development tends to unfold in a typical progression — most babies crawl before they walk, make sounds before they say their first word — children develop at different rates and in different ways," says Claire Lerner, child development specialist at Zero to Three, a national nonprofit promoting the healthy development of children.
So, for example, one 7-month-old may have very advanced motor skills because he loves to explore and interact through movement but not spend much time jabbering, while another baby the same age may be playing with syllables and calling you "mama" but be less adept at motor skills. "What's most important to track is that the child is making forward progress in all domains," explains Lerner.