Developmental Milestones and 3 Reasons Why They Don’t Matter!
Now that Max is 1 year old (14 months to be exact) I constantly receive the same developmental questions from acquaintances, friends, and even some family members who may or may not know that Max had a brain injury at birth. His brain injury has lead to a cerebral palsy diagnosis which effects and delays his gross and fine motor skills for all four limbs of his body. They ask questions like “is he crawling?” Or “is he walking” or “how is his appetite?” Or even “is he saying mom, dad, yes or no?” I always answer back stating what he does rather than focusing on what he doesn’t do, but can’t help to think why do these developmental milestones matter? Will he not be a child because he does not do these things? Would I love him less because he is not saying mama? What if there’s not just one path? What if there’s not just one set of milestones? There are many, many paths on the road to adulthood, and Max is taking the road less traveled. It’s a road with bumpier, less familiar milestones, but it’s still a road.
Developmental milestones are extremely important and should be evaluated during your child’s well check ups with their Primary Care Physician. They are used to determine how children develop socially, mentally, emotionally, and physically and help evaluate if a delay is there. If there is a developmental delay present, with proper early intervention, therapy, services, and resources can help facilitate growth in the child to catch them back up to their peers. Since Max has CP, he is considered globally developmentally delayed, and as the neurologist tells us he may or may not crawl, walk, or even talk (But God has the final say so on that!). As parents we know what the doctors report says, but we have faith that God will let Max reach his full potential no matter what that entails. Below are three reasons why developmental milestones don’t matter to those parents of children with special needs.
- Shifting expectations – Once we have children we expect them hit and exceed those milestones in the expected time frame or sooner. For the special needs parent we place those expectations on our kids and if they miss them we automatically assume it was something we did wrong. We have to learn how to shift our expectations of developmental milestones. We have to learn to meet our children at the stage they are, and push them to their potential with the help of Physical and Occupational Therapists.
- Celebrating Small Victories – We also have to learn how to celebrate small victories no matter what they are. My mom always plays a game for Max to identify parts of her face. She points out to him her nose with his hand and then points to his nose. She then asks Max to point to Mi Mi’s nose and Max does and we celebrate him. Every little thing he does we make sure he knows he is doing a great job and we celebrate them. Nothing is too small that we don’t celebrate.
- Unconditional Love – Do I love Max any less because he can’t crawl, walk, or talk? Of course not. If anything having a special needs child has taught me the true meaning of unconditional love. I have learned to love Max because he is on a different path, but also learned to wrap my brain around the fact that my son might be okay with it. After all he accepts who he is and how he moves through the world. That he’s not failing at childhood because he’s not meeting every milestone, but rather, he’s succeeding at being Super Mighty Max.
Stay Super, Mighty, and Blessed!
Posted on November 10, 2015, in All About Max, Disability, doctors, Epilepsy, family and friends, Gastronomy Tube, HIE, love, Maxwell's Story and tagged cerebral palsy. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.
Thank you for sharing this. It is hard for some people to fully grasp what the path that kids like your Max and my Vivian are on. It doesn’t always go in straight lines like a neuro-typical kid’s developmental path does. And sometimes it plateaus for a while before inching along again.
Just wondering if you have heard of Hope for HIE? You probably have, but thought I should ask anyway! They have some great facebook groups for support.
Also, big hugs from a fellow Virginian – I’m from Norfolk, but now live in NZ! 🙂 Wishing you and Max and your family a wonderful 2015.