General information about child development

  • Development is the gaining of skills in all aspects your child's life. There are different areas of development:

- Movement skills (gross motor)

- Hand skills (fine motor)

- Visual skills (response to what they can see)

- Speech, language and hearing

- Social skills, emotions and behaviour

  • You may be concerned about your child's development in just one of these areas, more than one, or all of these areas.
  • All children are different and develop at different rates, so there is a range of ages when they learn these skills.
  • However, there are certain ages by which most children will have developed a certain skill. These are called developmental milestones. If your child has not met their milestone, it may be of concern and it is important to seek advice (please see individual sections for further details).
  • In the UK, babies and young children are offered routine health and development reviews at the following times:

- Newborn examination within 72 hours of birth.

- 6-8 weeks check (usually with the GP)

- 9-12 months development review (usually with the health visitor)

- 2-2.5 years developmental review (usually with the health visitor)

  • Further information on your child's developmental milestones and routine reviews can be viewed by clicking here.
  • Please share any concerns and seek advice and help early if:

- You are concerned about the way your child moves, acts, learns, speaks or plays.

- Seek advice urgently if you think that your child has lost skills that they once had (sometimes called regression).

  • A range of different services and professionals offer help and advice if you are worried about your child's development:

- Health visitor

- Early learning teacher in your child's nursery or your child's childminder.

- GP

  • You may be referred to different members of the multidisciplinary child development team depending on what your concern is:

- Community Paediatrician - a doctor who specialises in the health and development of children.

- Physiotherapist - a therapist who supports with physical movement skills.

- Occupational therapist - a therapist who supports skills required for activities of daily living and hand skills (fine motor).

- Speech & Language therapist (SALT) - a therapist who supports with speech, language, communication, understanding and safe swallow.

- Dietitian

- Psychologist - a qualified individual who is able to support aspects of your child's learning and behaviour.

- Children & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) - services that support children and young people with difficulties with their emotional or behavioural wellbeing.

  • Children's social services - can provide additional support for families who have needs beyond healthcare and education needs.
  • Local education services - such as Portage (a home visiting educational service) to support preschool children requiring additional support with their developmental skills).
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