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Monday, August 18, 2014

Normal vs average

Precocious little one!
As a mom, you want to be reassured that your child is developing "normally".  As you look around at children who are the same age, you notice that some reach milestones earlier while others are later.  Is that normal?  What is the difference between "normal" and "average"? 

One of my babies was walking at nine months.  Another didn't walk until he was fifteen months.  One chattered away using clearly distinct words at one year.  Another didn't talk until he was three.  Both of these examples are of normal development.  Neither was average.

Average is a mathematical formula where you take a group of numbers, add them up and divide by the number in the group.  The resulting number is the average.  Normal, however, is not nearly so precise.  It describes something that is typical for a situation, based over a long period of observation.  So, while the average age of a baby walking is 12 months, normal is somewhere between nine months and sixteen months.

You are probably very aware of the charts and apps that describe typical ages for developmental milestones.  Just remember, that they are guidelines, nothing more.  There never seems to be any worry when your child reaches milestones earlier than usual but if not, then the uncertainty creeps in.  Regular check-ups with your child's doctor are ideal for bringing up your concerns about his or her development.  If all appears to be well, don't hurry or pressure your child.   Enjoy her just the way she is. 


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