By Dr. Kristen Hurley, PsyD, HSPP, Clinical Psychologist
Child development can feel complicated and confusing, and it can be hard to know what behaviors are expected. You want to make sure that you don’t ignore something important, but you also don’t want to make too big of a deal over something that your child is just doing a bit differently.
With developmental milestones, typical development actually encompasses a range of behaviors and timelines. Everyone learns things slightly differently, but if your child is doing something that is notably different from their peers or is outside of the range of what is typical, it’s worth looking into further.
My number one piece of advice – if something just doesn’t feel right or you are noticing your child fall behind many peers in a certain area, bring it up to your child’s pediatrician or family doctor. If it is nothing, bringing it up to experts will not lead to inaccurate diagnoses/services. And if your child does seem to be behind, we know that early intervention is the best possible way to help your child make progress and either catch up to peers or need less intervention down the road.
Below are some general behaviors that might raise flags for autism spectrum disorder. However, note that there are many behaviors that overlap with other conditions, and all children may occasionally show some of these behaviors. Only a trained provider, such as a psychologist or medical doctor, is qualified to interpret whether these behaviors warrant a diagnosis of autism or any other delays.
For more information about expected timelines for meeting developmental milestones, as well as ideas for how to help your child develop new skills, the following are reliable sources:
Resources About Developmental Milestones
January 31, 2020, Dr. Kristen Hurley, PsyD, HSPP, Clinical Psychologist