It turns out that we know quite a bit about how Dandelion Kids develop. We call them Developmental Milestones, and the Centers for Disease Control has a decent milestones chart of them for Littles. For older kids and teens, I prefer Understood.org’s information.
Milestones are useful. Sort of. Sometimes.
It’s worth looking at milestone charts and seeing what’s considered ‘normal’ at each age and stage of development. It gives you a bird’s eye view of child development steps so you can understand where your child is.
It can also be helpful if it helps you understand why your child is behaving in certain ways. It’s the difference between thinking, “Why is my two-year-old doing X? vs. “Oh! My two-year-old is doing X because that’s what 2-year-olds do.” Even if you’re still annoyed, it takes the edge off somehow.
It might help to know what the milestones are when you’re worried about whether a given behavior is ‘normal’ or not.
But this is where it gets tricky. Because for Orchids, the story is a bit more complicated.
Some Orchids’ development simply does not follow Dandelion norms.
Although some skills may be tracking according to expected development, others may be on their own path.
Particularly in Autism, there is a growing body of work around what may be ‘typical’ in neurodivergent folks. Differences in social connection, sensory processing and ways of thinking might be just that: differences.
If your child is not exhibiting certain developmental skills, that’s good to know at some level, but it can also be paralyzing. And, it might be an ‘apples to oranges’-type comparison.
The more interesting questions might be:
What’s typical for my child?
When can my child exhibit a given skill?
Are there times when they can’t?
Orchids are often playing a different developmental game from Dandelions. Which means that developmental milestones might not apply.
Knowing that can make a huge difference in how we think, feel and act.
Next week we’ll talk about some basic “developmental hygiene” that is critical for Orchids, so stay tuned.