When Your Kid isn't Hitting Milestones


We called my son “Quiet Wyatt” from very early on.  He was a stoic little guy, always studying things and absorbing it all.   He hit physical milestones early, beginning to army crawl by 5 months and walking at 10 months.  But he was always a bit behind on verbal skills.

I was told “boys are a lot slower to talk” by so many people or “usually they are physical or verbal dominant, so he will get there” but by his 2 year appointment I was not convinced.  My pediatrician was not concerned and even my husband thought Wyatt would come around in his own time, but my mommy gut wouldn’t stop nagging me.  I made a note of where he was verbally at 2 years old and then tried not to worry about it for the next few months.  Four months later, he had only added a few new words  – that was the red flag to me.  I called my doctor and although he assured me he thought Wyatt was fine, he was happy to give me a referral to get him tested at Cook Children’s Therapy.

The earliest we could get him tested was 4 weeks out!  When Wyatt was tested, he was more than 6 months behind average and definitely had problems with areas of his speech.  Mommy gut was RIGHT!  After testing, we had to wait another 2 -3 weeks to find out if he was approved by insurance (therapy is PRICEY and if you don’t get insurance approval, don’t panic, there are other cheaper options).  Wyatt was approved for 6 months of therapy, attending weekly.  He was 2 1/2 years old at this time and I wanted to get him caught up by his 3rd birthday.  They did just that for us!  He is 3 1/2 now and there are days I miss “Quiet Wyatt”.  He is always singing, narrating life and literally NEVER shuts up.

There is NO DOUBT that without the therapy, Wyatt would not be at the place he is now.  I could write on and on about how they were so creative in working with him and how through this process we found Wyatt’s learning style – this has been incredible for teaching him in his preschool years!

Here is the best advice I can give you if are worried that your child is not hitting milestones in a manner they should….and I don’t mean “the book says they should be rolling over at 4 months and my baby is 4 months 3 days and just laying there!!”.

1.  Don’t freak out.  Do not get stuck on definitions or timelines found in books. Try not to compare your child to other kids (including their siblings).  Every child definitely can’t be right on average…there are kids who do things early, so there are obviously kids who do things later.

2.  Observe your child.  Get your nose out of parenting books and off the internet sites trying to diagnose and just start observing your child.  Children are CONSTANTLY learning – make a mental note of where they are and what they struggle with.   Evaluate in 2-3 months to see if they have progressed further.   If their progression seems slow, ask your doctor for a referral  and get an evaluation.  I am not an insurance person but most evaluations requested by docs are covered.  An evaluation is to see if they qualify and insurance will cover the therapy.

3.  Educate yourself.  Call and ask the therapy groups at what age they advise testing occur if kids are not hitting milestones. I found out that they have different views of when you should be concerned as compared to pediatricians.

4.  Don’t keep waiting.  My pediatrician, who I respect and trust, said he wasn’t worried about Wyatt but if I was, I could get an evaluation.   Many times the waiting list for appointments is long (and then there is the time for insurance approval if they do deem he/she needs help). If you make the appointment because your 15 month old is still not walking and they suddenly start running laps around the house and you feel it is no longer necessary – cancel the appointment.

5.  Trust your gut.  You know your child better than anyone.  My mom (aka: Nana) always says “You are your kids advocate and sometimes the only one on their side!”. This means YOU do what you feel is right for your kid and your family.  Others might think you are crazy or not agree with you.  You might even tick people off but in the end, it is about your baby and what is right for them.

Now, don’t everyone start calling Cook Children’s Therapy all at once!!

What stories do you have about your kids not hitting milestones? Any other mommies have kids who have benefited from therapy? 


  1. Great post, Emily. It’s important to trust your mother’s instinct, and it’s also okay if your baby isn’t right on track with what those books are saying. The books, oh the books. What a source of anxiety and stress at times!

  2. Oh, I SUPER LOVE THIS!! I have a 9 year old with GAD, OCD, fine motor delays and sensory issues. Despite him being my first born, I absolutely knew in my gut that something was wrong from VERY early on. I pursued having him tested when he was only 2.5, though everyone would say “he’s probably just shy” or sensitive or quiet…I knew in my heart that wasn’t the case. Thanks to my early intervention, we found out about his low tone and motor delays in time to correct most of them (I hadn’t even NOTICED that issue!) and decreased his sensory issues by a HUGE margin before kindergarten. Since he turned out to have a very severe anxiety disorder, this was critical for him. I’m so thankful that I listened to my mommy gut!! Bravo to you!!


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