Before understanding what constitutes a developmental assessment, we may need to understand what “developmental milestones” mean. Milestones are the specific physical and mental abilities (such as walking and understanding language) according to the age of a child. Milestones can be described as what a child can accomplish throughout the different stages in his or her life. An example of this would be eye-hand coordination, which includes a child’s increasing ability to manipulate objects in a coordinated manner.
Increased knowledge of age-specific milestones allows parents and other caretakers to keep track of their children’s development in various domains. Crucial aspects of child development include: language, gross motor, fine-motor and other more advanced cognitive abilities such as reasoning, concept formation, and pattern analysis. A common concern in child development involves any delay in age-specific ability for important developmental milestones.
Although one would hope that a paediatrician or family doctor would notice any developmental problems in a regular checkup, some problems are not easily detected and they do not manifest themselves during a short visit at the doctor’s office. Parents must be vigilant and observant of their child’s development and bring up any concerns to the doctor. Developmental assessment can help parents and caretakers get a better grasp of their children’s overall development and to suggest further assessment or training by other professionals, like speech therapists, occupational therapists, or physiotherapists.
In Hong Kong, there are 31 Maternal Child Health Centres (MCHs) performing regular developmental check-ups for children from new born to the age of 6. For further information, check the following website www.fhs.gov.hk