Updated: Oct 15, 2020
As therapists, we have all had the sit down conversation with a parent along the lines of.... "Well my (doctor, child's teacher, aunt Martha) said (my child) will be fine, and to just 'wait and see.'"
Often, at this point, we are sitting across from a parent who feels that someone led them down the wrong path, their child didn't just "catch up" like they were told like their neighbor Fran's child did. Perhaps their child is not making friends, being bullied, getting poor grades, unable to communicate with a teacher, or join in the fun activities at school like others.
Why did Fran's child catch up and their child didn't? Some children are just slightly delayed and have the capacity to catch up. It may be a trend in their family or that child may have experienced something that caused their development to slow; however, something in their nature allowed them to meet their peer's levels in a short period of time. Every child is different, different parents, experiences, lifestyle, genetics, and of course, brains!
Your brain is not wired the same as the people you work with, the person you are married to, and not even the same as your own child. We have different chemistry, different learning styles, and different personalities. Can anyone ever make the assumption "he'll catch up"? That is like saying "Uncle Scott, who is currently a shopaholic, will become very frugal in 3 years, just like I did when I turned 40." Will he? ....Or, will he just have an even more AMAZING wardrobe?
You could be waiting a long time if you just go along with the "wait and see" strategy.
What can you do when your child seems to be falling behind in their development?
GO WITH YOUR GUT
Screenings are FREE. Whether your child is 1 or 16, if you have a worry, get a screening.
A screening by a trained clinician can calm your fears by ruling out the need for further investigation, or can guide you to get a full assessment by a trained, experienced, clinician in the specific area of concern.
Fun (Not-So-Fun) Fact:
Let's do some math on that one. Say a child needed 30 therapy sessions at $100 each to meet their developmental goals (often largely covered by the department of developmental services).... Waiting would cost you $21,000!!!!!
What happens after an assessment?
You may find out that your worry doesn't need to be a worry right now and get more information from someone who specializes in working with children like yours!
You may find out, that your child has a treatable condition, and now have the opportunity to work with a professional that can help them.
It's always okay to ask for help, and you are never doing the wrong thing, by doing everything for your child.