What Happens if My Child Misses Milestones?

by: Dennis Hart and Joe D Staff
what happens if my child misses milestones babies and toddlers illustration

Milestones are typical behaviors and physical skills that children develop as they grow. For example, most children start crawling by 9 months or saying 20 words by 18 months. But these are just averages.

Every child misses a milestone or two. One missed milestone is not a big deal, but you should talk to your doctor if:

  • Your infant or toddler misses multiple milestones at once.
    For instance, your 6-month-old might not be able to roll over from tummy to back and also doesn’t laugh.
  • Your child misses multiple milestones in the same category.
    For instance, they have multiple gross motor skills delays, like crawling and walking late.
  • Your child loses skills they had.
    If your child used to speak or walk fine, but now cannot, you should call your child’s pediatrician.

6 Ways to Help Your Child Meet Milestones They've Missed

1. Act early: The sooner your child receives help, the faster they can catch up with their peers.

get rehab help for your child early to catch up with peers

2. Attend well-child visits. Your child's pediatrician can assess their growth and help tack important milestones.

attend well child visits infographic

3. Get a referral to a specialist. A pediatric neurologist and rehabilitation medicine specialist can do an in-depth assessment of your child's development.

pediatric neurologists and rehab medicine specialists assess child's development

4. Get a referral to a therapist. Physical, occupational, or speech therapy services can provide special activities and exercises to help your child.

5. Teach your child at home. Work on any skills or activities that your child's therapist(s) suggests at home.

6. Visit Florida Early Steps or call 1-800-218-0001. Find out if your child (birth to 36 months) is eligible for free early intervention services.

call florida early steps 800-218-0001 for early intervention services infographic

Physical, occupational and speech therapists at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital know how to help your child catch up on developmental milestones with fun, engaging therapy. Learn more about our Pediatric Rehabilitation services.

About the Authors

Dennis Hart

Hart, Dennis Dennis Hart, MD, is chief of Pediatric Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. He is a pediatric physiatrist and cares for children with developmental disabilities and those recovering from neurological or orthopedic injuries such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, peripheral nerve injury, spasticity and other conditions that require rehabilitation. In addition, he was appointed by the Governor to serve on the board of directors for the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council and has been volunteering with the group since 2019.

Joe D Staff

Disclaimer: The ideas and opinions presented in this blog post do not reflect the ideas and opinions of Memorial Healthcare System.