This post is sponsored and made possible with support from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” program. All opinions are my own. Knowing Important Milestones Can Save a Child’s Life: Our Story
If you’re a new reader, allow me to recap our story. Before my husband and I had children, we were a husband-wife-only family of 2. We had two children and became a family of 4. I later had another pregnancy that resulted in a miscarriage that almost cost me my life. I had emergency surgery to stop the hemorrhaging from the miscarriage. It was a sad time in my life. I really thought I was done having children, until I became unexpectedly pregnant, again. I was pregnant with triplets. We became a family of 7. The world sees this site for its metaphorical name, but for us, it was both literal and metaphorical; 2-4-7 Modern Mom, which my audience came to know as 24/7 Modern Mom.
The triplets were born as micro-preemies, at just 29 weeks. They are seven-years-old now and it’s been quite the journey. They’ve had a number of medical issues, and most of them were scary. All of them had cysts in the brain, large ventricles, a variety of other preemie-related issues, and Kaitlyn even had Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). This causes blood vessels to aggressively form, potentially detaching the retina and causing blindness. Typically this happens from a birth before 32 weeks gestation, and especially before 30 weeks.
The triplets all had breathing, feeding, and hearing issues. All three were later diagnosed with Autism. Two of them have Epilepsy. Kaitlyn also has sleep apnea, requiring a cpap machine at night. Despite all of these things, the triplets are doing well. In fact, they’re thriving! Kaitlyn has the most health issues compared to her triplet siblings, but she now towers over them, a full head taller!
Regarding their Autism, there is one question I am constantly asked by others. “How did you know?” And, I knew. But HOW? I educated myself on important milestones and paid close attention to my children’s development.
When they began missing important milestones, I immediately reached out to their pediatrician. I advocated for them. I persisted. At one point, we weren’t even sure if they could hear at all. There was certainly doubt about whether or not they’d ever speak. Autism is usually seen before three years of age. It isn’t always diagnosed by then, because it is often missed. When it is, children lose all the benefits of early intervention. Autism is not fatal, but some conditions can be, when they aren’t caught in time. So knowing the important milestones can change a child’s life, and even save it!
Early Intervention made a big difference in my triplets’ lives. They continue to get services daily and continue to succeed. They talk, laugh, and interact. It’s amazing to see them thriving. Sometimes I wonder where they’d be if I hadn’t acted early. I don’t like to think about that because I’m certain they wouldn’t be where they are now! I became so passionate about helping my children and others. Now, on the days I’m not working on this site, I work as an ABA Therapist providing services to other children with Autism.
Related: Early Intervention Guide: How To Get Services in All 50 States
Related: A Closer Look at Special Education: Is Your IEP Policy-Proof?
Important Milestones for 1-2 Year Olds
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website is full of resources! They have the same information available in Spanish, too! You can download charts, checklists, and posters or even get a free important milestones app from iTunes. There is also a FREE “Parent Kit” that can be ordered. (includes a Milestone Moments booklet with checklists for ages 2 months to 5 years and a growth chart; English or Spanish) I love how the CDC understands that we’re all different. They’ve given us a number of options so that learning about important milestones fits with individual learning styles.
I am personally grateful that this kind of information is so readily available and free! The CDC website was an invaluable resource to me during all of my children’s early years. I couldn’t prevent my children from getting Autism, but I was able to recognize the signs, and get them the support they needed. I was able to speak intelligently to doctors and specialists as my children’s primary advocate. I even appreciated when they finally reached the “terrible twos” stage. To me, it wasn’t terrible at all! It was marvelous, because they were finally beginning to reach those important milestones I’d been on the lookout for, so long.
Social and Emotional
- Copies others, especially adults and older children
- Gets excited when with other children
- Shows more and more independence
Shows defiant behavior (doing what he has been told not to)
Plays mainly beside other children, but is beginning to include other children, such as in chase games
Points to things or pictures when they are named
Knows names of familiar people and body parts
Says sentences with 2 to 4 words
Follows simple instructions
Repeats words overheard in conversation
- Points to things in a book
Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)
- Finds things even when hidden under two or three covers
- Begins to sort shapes and colors
Completes sentences and rhymes in familiar books
- Plays simple make-believe games
- Builds towers of 4 or more blocks
Might use one hand more than the other
Follows two-step instructions such as “Pick up your shoes and put them in the closet.”
Names items in a picture book such as a cat, bird, or dog
- Stands on tiptoe
- Kicks a ball
Begins to run
- Climbs onto and down from furniture without help
- Walks up and down stairs holding on
- Throws ball overhand
- Makes or copies straight lines and circles
Have you ever had concerns about your children reaching important milestones or their overall development? We’d love to hear your story in the comments!
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By: Alicia Gonzalez