Child development is the process of children learning and mastering skills such as sitting, talking, walking, skipping and tying shoes. A developmental milestone is a distinct skill a child acquires within a specific time frame; milestones equate to normal growth in children. For instance, babbling and walking are developmental milestones that most children reach by 12 months. Child developmental milestones usually develop in a sequential fashion, with each milestone that a child acquires building on the last developmental milestone reached.
Having been the subject of considerable research, comprehensive information exists today about child developmental milestones. Using this information, parents and professionals can compare a particular child's growth to typical milestones to determine how that child is doing.
While developmental milestones represent typical growth in children, young children do develop differently. Some differences may mean nothing more than a child is experiencing slight delays. For instance, some children begin talking by 15 months while others develop language later. However, significant delays, halts in development or regression in skills — meaning skills once had are lost — may be a cause for concern and investigation.
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Updated: August 2, 2011