"I'm Concerned About My Child..."

Something doesn't seem right.  
You are concerned about your child, or someone else has mentioned their concerns and you are starting to think they may be right.  

What do you do?

The First Step

Schedule an appointment with your child's pediatrician immediately.  Trust your instincts. If you have concerns about your child's health or development, don't wait for a 'well appointment' - go ahead a schedule a 'sick appointment.'  
(Of course, if you think your child may have a life-threatening illness or injury, dial 911 - don't wait for an appointment!)

Visit this website from the CDC:  www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/concerned.html

You will find information on milestones, including a checklist you can take to your doctor for your child's age group - you can give the checklist to a relative to get feedback on what they say, as well.  This page also has links on how to talk to your child's doctor, or another parent about a potential delay or problem. This site also gives important next steps for what to do if you suspect a delay in development.  The best resource page I have found!

You also have the power to contact your area's "Child Development Services" and refer your own child for evaluation if you suspect developmental delay.  It is highly recommended, however, that you go to your child's pediatrician to rule out any medical issues that may be contributing to the outward appearance of developmental delay, such as hearing or vision problems, high mercury levels in the blood, etc.


The Second Step

1) Write down everything you need to tell your child's doctor.  Document every behavior or physical problem that is concerning you, so that you can be prepared when you see your child's doctor.  Ask someone else who is close to your family, or a teacher or other person who has mentioned their concerns, to tell  you exactly what they are worried about and write that down to.  If you have a few days before your appointment, make a list of behaviors or physical issues and chart how many times a behavior happens.  Use the CDC site as a guide.

2) Write down everything your child's physician tells you at your child's appointment.  You may want to bring someone with you to help you take notes.  It will be very helpful after your child's appointment is over to have this information to refer to.  It is not unusual for parents to experience some shock or a sense of unreality if they receive difficult news at an appointment.  In that case, making the effort to write down your doctor's assessment will help you understand what is being said.


Know the milestones for development - link here.

Never assume you can diagnose your child from a website.  

Searching symptoms on the web for either a medical problem or a developmental issue may give you a few ideas as to what could be wrong, but caution is needed, as this may also lead to unnecessary alarm over worst-case scenerios.  

Be aware, be informed, and consult your child's doctor.

If you get a diagnosis...

  (These statements and suggestions are in no way intended to be construed as medical advice or as advice from a medical professional.)


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