Why is early development important?

Human development follows a step-by-step process where one skill is dependent on the mastery of a skill before it, and often times overlap various skill sets. This is much like the analogy of building a house; you must have strong foundations and structure before the next step can be added. These early steps are known as “Developmental Milestones” and start developing even before a baby is born. Reaching these milestones is dependent on the experiences and interactions a child has in their early years. Children who have had interruptions to their exposure to the world, such as medical complications or emotional trauma may be at high risk for delays in their development.

Each milestone achieved throughout the first years of life is dependent on those that came before it. To be able to communicate, we must first learn to visually and verbally engage others. We need to learn how to produce a sound before we can produce a word, and then form full sentences. We need strong muscles in our mouths to eat healthy fruits and vegetables to nourish our bodies to grow.

Not only is each Developmental Milestone dependent on the successful achievement of the one before it, each developmental domain and sensory system are interdependent on each other. For this reason alone, CTN recommends starting therapy early if you are concerned.
For more helpful information about early development read about Tummy Time, and Play with a Purpose.

What are Developmental Domains:

The term Developmental Domain refers to 7 specific areas of development. In each domain there are developmental milestones. Your doctor, therapist or education specialist use the milestones in each domain to determine if your child is growing at the same rate as their peers. The human body develops in a very specific pattern and on a typical timeline. A child may excel in one domain, but can show delays in another. It is not uncommon during early stages that you will see your child suddenly advance in one developmental domain, while regressing in another. The theory is that the body is giving “energy” or “attention” to growing in a specific domain, one at time. Don’t worry about these sudden changes, as long as the regression does not persist. However, if you see prolonged regression or slow development in a domain consistently, you should consult your doctor or request an assessment from a trained therapist.

The Seven Domains are:

1. Sensory:
2. Cognitive
3. Language (Expressive and Receptive)
4. Gross Motor
5. Fine Motor
6. Social Emotional
7. Self Help (sometimes called adaptive skills)


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