A child’s first smile, laugh, word and eye contact is not only special to the parent but also an indication of proper neurological development which is time sensitive. Assessing development from milestones like babbling on time, sitting independently without back support or having control of the bladder can be indicative of their successive development because of the regions of the brain involved. Early identification of infants at risk for neurodevelopmental disorders can have profound effects on their future success because early intervention can positively impact the outcome and overall quality of life. Early intervention
Developmental delay (not meeting developmental milestones) is associated with an increased risk of a future diagnosis of learning disability as well as other neurodevelopmental disorders that affect cognitive, motor, language and behavioral development. Early intervention can assess areas of weakness and lack of proper development to support the child’s progression lifelong. The environment and personal experience can modify brain development and improve the outcome in infants at risk for neurodevelopmental disorders- which is the goal of neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the ability for us to mold and shape our brain function based on the inputs we provide and offices specializing in Functional Neurology apply these concepts daily. Important Developmental Milestones for first 12 months (1 year) of life 2 Months: By two months of age, your child should be able to: 1. Respond to sound (auditory perception) 2. Stare at faces and mimic smiling when others are (mirror neurons) 3. Make sounds other than crying like gurgles (activation of Broca’s area for speech production) 4. React to loud sounds (Moro Reflex) 5. Follow objects across fields of vision (pursuit mechanisms) 7. Hold head up while on stomach for short periods of time (development of postural control/frontal lobe development) 8. Be aware of arms and legs (gross motor control of the motor cortex) 9. Open hands briefly (diminished response to Palmar/Grasp Reflex)
By four months of age, your child should be able to: 1. Makes sounds like “ooo” and “ahh” by themselves or as a response to someone speaking 2. Smile and laugh 3. Opens mouth in response to seeing a breast or bottle if hungry (association areas in the brain) 4. Hold head without support (spinal stability and midline cerebellum development) 5. Hold body weight up on forearms when on stomach and able to bear weight on legs (starting phases of crawling) 6. Holds onto object (fine motor development) 7. Visually tracks moving objects (brainstem mechanisms)
By six months of age, your child should be able to: 1. Put hands and toys in mouth (oral fixation and exploring their environment through all senses) 2. Reach for toys (fine motor control, development of the cerebellum for accuracy and motor control) 3. Resist food intake when not hungry (showing decision making) 4. Able to hold full weight of body on arms when on stomach (postural control and stability) 5. Able to roll from stomach to the back in both directions (important for safety measures) 6. Able to recognize familiar people (memory development of the temporal lobe) 7. Respond to sound with a head turn (auditory perception) and imitate sounds
9 Months: By nine months of age, your child should be able to: 1. Distinguish between familiar and unfamiliar people (association areas within the brain responsible for long term memory) 2. Show facial expressions (development of important cranial nerves within the brainstem) 3. Makes distinction sounds and combination of syllables (ex:mamamama, development of Broca’s area) 4. Look for objects that fall (understanding object permanence) 5. Able to transfer objects from one hand to the other without dropping them (fine motor skills, important in feeding mechanics and future handwriting) 6. Attempts at feeding self with hands (showing level of appropriate independence)
7. Sit fully without support (postural tone, midline cerebellar development) 8. Say words like “mama” or “dada” (unspecific to which parent or person)
12 Months: By 12 months of age (1 year old), your child should be able to: 1. Imitate others activities (mirror neurons still active making learning an easy process) 2. Wave “bye-bye” 3. Stand on their own by using arms to pull up for a few seconds (core strength, midline cerebellum) 4. Walk when using support (advanced cross crawl mechanisms) 5. Pick objects and food with thumb and pointer finger “pincer grasp” (fine motor control from cerebellum, important for future handwriting skills) 6. Communicate with gestures of hands about wants and needs (ex: food/hunger) 7. Crawl well with belly off the ground (cross crawl mechanism activates the frontal lobe) Understanding the normal progression of neurological development in a child can be helpful in preventing future diagnoses of developmental disorders and impact a child’s life onwards. The field of functional neurology uses the concepts of neuroplasticity to positively impact the development of a growing child’s brain. This is performed using brain rehabilitation exercises and techniques as well as addressing underlying metabolic and structural dysfunctions. To learn more about how CFNC can help your child in proper development and assist those with existing diagnoses, contact us to schedule a consultation today.