As part of our consulting practice specializing in the developmental process, we needed a method for tracking developmental progress over time. The result is our Developmental Checklist. Our clients use it to track the developmental progress of their child. It is helpful for parents of children with developmental difficulties to see and understand the status of their children’s developmental process. It is also useful for all parents to understand and to track the developmental progress of their children, whatever the developmental situation.

Developing this checklist

When we started consulting with families about their children’s developmental progress, we discovered that many parents do not understand much about the developmental process. Parents would tell us stories about what their child did differently this week, but they had little knowledge or understanding that their child was demonstrating information about the developmental step or task on which the child was working.

Help parents understand the developmental process

We needed something that helped parents understand the developmental process. We needed something that guided parents to watch for important developmental signals. And, we needed something that would quantify a child’s developmental progress. We tried several different ideas and formats, searching for something that was useful for parents and caregivers, ourselves, and to other service providers who worked with the child.

We did not want to create a diagnostic instrument. We wanted something to help parents understand and to track developmental progress of their child.

One of the concerns we had for the format was to have a better way of describing the overview of the child’s developmental process status. The standard method is to describe the child’s developmental age as a single number of months or years.

What about developmental age?

There are a lot of problems in this approach. For instance, what are the developmental factors used to decide the ‘age’ of the child? Do we use walking or talking? Do we use gross motor, fine motor, social/emotional, sensory (, etc. . .) factors?

Even more of a problem is that for each stage (commonly established at 12, 18, 24, 36, 48, and 60 months), a child with developmental problems will have completed some tasks and not completed others. These children have begun some tasks and not completed them. They have begun some other tasks and completed them. And, they have not even started some tasks.

Broad-based developmental advancement

In our work, we re-start the developmental process for these children, and each month our clients are advancing, developmentally and incrementally, across each of the stages (according to their real age). When we reported the child’s developmental process status we wanted to give a picture of that broad-based developmental advancement.

If we are only using some narrow, select group of developmental factors to define the developmental ‘age’ of a child, in one month’s progress we might miss developmental progress in areas not used to calculate that ‘age.’ In one month a child might not make progress in the factors used to define the ‘age’ and make a lot of progress in other developmental factors. We considered our task was to demonstrate the broad-based developmental advancement that children were making, so we wanted something to demonstrate that.

What about developmental warning-signs?

In the 12-month and 24-month stages, there are some items which are not developmental tasks. There is also an additional group of items, shown in our Developmental Checklist as “6+ years.” These sections are developmental warning-signs.

These items are considered warning-signs of possible developmental problems. By themselves, when a child is demonstrating behaviors shown in these items, this does not mean that there is a developmental problem. If a parent has multiple of these items, the parent should consider testing and diagnosis. Our Developmental Checklist is no used for diagnosis, only a professional can do that kind of testing and diagnosis.

Visual Overview

We wanted to give parents the overview of the broad-based developmental advancement. Our Visual Overview page provides a method for seeing that. It shows the current state of the child’s developmental progress across each of the stages. It also shows any of the developmental warning-signs the parent has identified.

Line-item details

Our Developmental Checklist report also shows how the parent responded to each of the line-items, from each of the stages. If a parent wants to use the checklist on a monthly basis, or to use it at the end of each stage, these line-item details makes it easy to keep track of the answers provided the last time they used it.

Other service providers

We designed the checklist report to be useful for medical, psychological, and educational service providers. They will find the information useful for tracking any child’s developmental progress.

Author's Bio: 

Rodger C Bailey has degrees in Social Science/Anthropology and Educational Counseling. His international consulting program (in English and Spanish), is the only program which targets the developmental process and reliably, predictably, and consistently gets it back on track. You can read more articles on this subject on his Blog.