Growth and development are two different but inseparable events. Growth covers measurable physical change, such as body height, weight, and head circumference. Development meanwhile covers functions, in general categorized into 5 aspects:
The process of child development is related to brain development. Brain development starts during pregnancy. By birth, the brain is only partly developed. The brain develops more than at any other time in life from 0-3 years old, hence the name golden period. When a child receives stimulation, the neurons would grow, creating an interconnected network. Although the brain continues to develop, the rate won’t be as high as that during the golden period. Hence the importance of stimulation in early age.
Typically babies and children follow age-specific developmental pattern. Thus it’s important to monitor their growth and development, in order to detect delay/disorder and act as early as possible, among which by giving appropriate stimulation.
Simple monitoring of child development and early detection of developmental delay can be done using Suryakanti’s Developmental Milestone Chart. Suryakanti Foundation adapted this illustrated Developmental Milestone Chart from Münchener Funktionelle Entwicklungsdiagnostik, making it easier to use for parents at home, teachers at early childhood development center, and health workers in integrated health post.
Suryakanti’s Developmental Milestone Chart consists of illustrations of baby/child’s activity with captions.
On the left column is the baby/child’s age, from 4 to 60 months. On the top row are the 5 developmental areas, namely: 1. Gross motor; 2. Fine motor; 3. Perception; 4. Speech; 5. Socialization.
Based on the age of the child, plot a point on the left column. The 5 illustration boxes next to the point represent typical skills that should be accomplished by baby/child of that age, categorized into the 5 developmental areas. For example, an 8 month baby should be able to:
Mark the box when the baby had been able to do the illustrated activity. All 5 marked boxes within a straight line means the baby is developmentally on track. Monitoring can be done on the next age range.
If the baby/child hasn’t accomplished all 5 developmental areas within the age row, check the boxes on the age row below it.
Developmental delay might be caused by various factors, including genetic, pregnancy and neonatal experiences, and daily care at home. The earliest a delay is detected, the soonest a baby/child can get help through home stimulation or intervention service. Stimulation during golden period is in particular promising, as the brain development stage made baby/child very sensitive to stimulation.
Note: This piece was adapted from: