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An Introduction to Infant Developmental Milestones
Newborn babies are born with many special skills that help them to adapt and thrive in their new environment. They also develop new abilities in a short period of time that help them to learn, adapt, and establish bonds. These new abilities that appear slowly throughout a child's life are commonly referred to as developmental milestones, or baby milestones.
Your baby's healthcare provider uses developmental milestones to check how your infant is developing. Although each milestone has a general age range, the actual age when the average developing child reaches that milestone can vary quite a bit.
Many healthcare providers will track a baby's progress using the widely regarded Denver Developmental Screening Test, originally created by Dr. William Frankenburg at the University of Colorado in Denver. The DDST measures the developmental progress of children ages 0 to 6 years old. This test was created to give early childhood specialists a relatively quick tool to detect possible academic and social problems.
The Denver Scale takes 125 basic tasks and groups them all into four categories.
The categories covered by the Denver Developmental Screening Test are:
- Gross motor skills
- Fine motor skills
- Language skills
- Personal/social skills.
While it is interesting and sometimes fun to watch your child hopping from one baby milestone to the next, it is important to remember that guidelines like the Denver Developmental Screening Test are just that -- guidelines. There are no hard and fast rules here that indicate that a child passing these milestones quickly or slowly will grow up to be any more or less capable of learning.
Not every child will necessarily do or "achieve" all of the milestones outlined or in the order described on the test. Every child is different and will progress in his or her own special way.