Few things stress parents like having family, friends, or professionals raise their eyebrows when they hear that your babe hasn’t done X, Y, or Z by a specific age. I’ve already made clear my thoughts on statistical variability and individual differences (see Redshirting), and today we’re grateful to Kate for sharing her story and lead regarding Early Intervention:
"From the very first APGAR score, taken moments after birth, childhood seems full of milestones and measurables these days. Is your child smiling, rolling, sitting, crawling, standing, walking, talking, relating - all at a particular time, all in a particular way. If understood as a range and not as hard-and-fast points in time, these markers can be helpful both for parents and pediatricians, but they can also cause worry, particularly for first-time parents. We were concerned when our daughter - who has been expressive and communicative since her first days - seemed slow to use and understand spoken language, but also frustrated by the prevalence of conventional wisdom indicating that she should be accumulating words by a particular age and in a particular sequence. Following discussions with her pediatrician and several mama friends and relatives, we opted to have our daughter evaluated for speech delays, a process which led to enrolling her in the Massachusetts Early Intervention Program. Funded largely through public grants, and providing services for families and children with a range of therapeutic needs both physical and cognitive, Early Intervention is a wonderful service for parents who are concerned that their child may be falling behind but are fundamentally uncomfortable with the metric-driven approach of some pediatricians and parenting books. Consisting of sessions that seem like structured play for the little ones, Early Intervention offers intensive one-on-one time for kids who may need extra help in a particular area of development without making them feel pushed or 'different.'"