Opinions can very well BE facts. When it comes to child development and what normal development looks like there are a plethora of opinions. Everyone has an opinion and you know what else everyone has, right? Exactly.
Normal has a range. Understanding range in terms of child development is much like trying to discern an opinion from a fact.Opinions are experience based sprinkled, with factual support. Facts are evidence based and only influenced by opinions. It is a fact that there is a wide range of “normal” in very young children. This makes it hard to decide when to seek professional advice when you have concerns about your child.
For the past couple of thousand years, people have made it from birth to death, raised according to different opinions. Some of these are based on fact, some are not. There are some dangerous and ignorant opinions floating around when it comes to normal child development. Why are there so many opinions? Who should you trust?
True story, I know a person whose husband wouldn’t let her have their daughter evaluated by early intervention specialists. He wouldn’t let her. It was her opinion that she should listen to her husband and it was his opinion that doctors and therapists are all quacks. Factual evidence doesn’t support his opinion. For 5 years this child was bounced around from daycare to daycare and school to school because the parents refused to see that their daughter was not normal.
This spring she was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and is receiving services. She is 7 years old.
This is not uncommon. It is a fact that more and more children are being diagnosed with developmental disorders. It is also a fact that denying a child the intervention and services needed to support their development usually results in that child getting further out of the range of normal as time passes.
As a parent I can tell you that my gut instincts have served me well and they often reflect my opinion. My gut has been wrong professionally, but rarely has this instinct led me astray when it comes to my own children. What I am saying is that if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. Bring your concerns to a professional. Trust your opinion but find out the facts.
My education and experience with regard to child development has led me to numerous facts that supported my opinion which resulted in me seeking assistance for clients as well as my own children. That is where many parents get lost in the shuffle and precious time is lost.
It is my opinion that too many parents fear judgment from our peers the professionals. Are we over-reacting?
The answer to that question is less important than the fact that kids are amazing creatures with the ability to change and grow rapidly. Most children who receive early intervention services catch up to their normally developing peers rather quickly and THAT is a fact.
http://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?module=12&OfficeType=4&County to find an Illinois Department of Human Services Provider near you.