While children grow and develop at different rates, most pass through an identifiable skill “set” along the way. These skills, better known as developmental milestones, build on each other, from simple to complex, during predictable time periods. If your child has a hearing loss, you can hold high expectations for them to reach milestones on par with their hearing peers but you’ll want to closely monitor their progress. Learn about why it’s important to know the developmental milestones for children and how you can get started:
You may have heard the saying, “If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?”. The same theory applies to being aware of the developmental milestones for your baby, particularly if they have a hearing loss! It’s important for you to be aware of normal development so you can understand what skills your baby needs at each age and stage and help them move to the next stage of development. Knowing these milestones will also allow you to work with your LSL professional to monitor your child’s listening, and language progress and to create a plan that will help you reach the goals you have for your child.
Today, babies with hearing loss can be identified through newborn hearing screening, fit with appropriate hearing technology and families can receive early intervention to help them facilitate their child’s timely listening and spoken language development. Often though, children are identified late, may experience progression in hearing loss or are not receiving appropriate amplification with their hearing technology. If the child is not hearing all spoken language occurring around them, their listening, language, speech and social development will likely begin showing delays. For this reason, it is important for parents and professionals to closely monitor their child’s development over time to assure they are meeting developmental milestones and to identify any changes in hearing status. With hearing loss, addressing developmental concerns early can make a big difference for long term spoken language success.
We know it can sometimes be scary to learn about milestones because of the potential for feelings of failure if your child hasn’t hit a milestone yet. Fear is a fickle thing because it convinces us that staying in one place, sometimes being a comfort zone of unawareness, is the easiest and most natural thing to do. However, there’s freedom in awareness! Freedom to adjust, set new goals and keep moving forward. Knowledge is power, and being knowledgeable about these milestones will help you become a better partner with your LSL professionals and better teacher for your child.
The best place to start learning about developmental norms is by downloading a milestone guide which can show charts and timetables for mastery of skills and then working with your LSL interventionist to understand how these milestones relate to your child’s goals. These guides can be broken down into the areas of hearing/auditory, cognitive, speech (sound production), language (listening, understanding and using words), social/emotional and physical development. Here are some of our favorite resources:
Remember, every child is different. Just because your child does or doesn’t match up to a developmental milestone yet doesn’t mean they won’t reach the listening, talking and literacy goals you have for them. Knowing where they are developmentally gives you and your LSL provider a starting point for setting goals and moving forward, so you know what to do now and what to expect ahead. When you make sure your child is wearing the right hearing devices at all waking moments, attend regular sessions in LSL early intervention, and make LSL strategies a part of your daily life, you are doing what it takes to help your baby achieve their listening and spoken language goals!!
Needing a push of support to take the plunge into learning more about milestones? Join the Family Support Community and let members know what you’re feeling! Sharing your fears, struggles, worries or challenges allows other families space to give helpful advice and cheer you on.
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