This weekend we had the privilege of caring for our granddaughter while her parents had some time to themselves. We all had a great time playing, cuddling and interacting with her on her visit. Her many Aunts and Uncles from our family are always excited to play with her when she visits. Her 2 year old uncle is always extremely attentive to her every need when she is around and you can just see that when she is a bit more mobile the 2 of them will be into so much mischief together.
Our granddaughter is 8 months old and appears to be developing on track. Raising many children with intellectual and developmental disabilities it is important to be around children that are developing typically. Each child should progress according to their own abilities, and each step is a cause for celebration however it is helpful knowing which ability is delayed and which ones typically happen next. Knowing and refreshing yourself with typical milestones is beneficial so when you speak with medical professionals and therapists you can gain support for your child. Sometimes, not with my granddaughter because she is "perfect" but with "other" peoples kids you will see typical developmental behaviours that make you happy that your child hasn't yet met that milestone. You know the ones - whining, tantrums, defiance, teenage aghast, etc.
It is important to identify developmental delays early so that treatment can minimize the effects of the problem. In our family with many children with significant delays our 2 year old appears miles ahead of his siblings however when with other peers you can see he also has fairly significant delays. If we did not keep current with what is typical development this could have been easily over looked.
Learning the stages of childhood development helps you respond to your child better and you can arrange your child's environment in a way to promote further development. For some of our children we have had to "baby proof" their environment but this had to be more extreme because of their age and size. A 18 year old functioning as a 2 year old still needs a safe environment however they can get into a whole lot more than a 2 year old that is only 2 1/2 feet tall.
It is helpful knowing where your child's development is in comparison to their age so that you are gently pushing for more but not expecting way more than they are capable of. A 19 year old typically is capable of being left home alone but if that 19 year old is functioning at a 6 year old level you wouldn't leave them home alone.
Every child is different and will develop at their own pace however it is important that they do pass through the various stages. Keep informed what is typical, where your child is functioning and how to encourage further development. Don't forget to seek help from medical professionals and therapists.