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Developmental and Behavioral Assessment
This is primarily done by asking the parent what the child can do. However, some of these developmental milestones may be demonstrated during the physical exam. Some examples of what your doctor will be looking for include:
- Does he pay attention to small objects?
- Does he reach and grasp for objects?
- Does she use her index finger and thumb to pick up small objects (called a pincer grasp)?
- Does he seem to able to localize sounds?
- Can he even transfer objects from hand to hand?
- Is she babbling?
- Does he sit by himself?
- Is she showing signs of stranger anxiety or separation anxiety?
Your baby may not be doing these things or may be doing a lot more. Each baby develops differently, so these milestones are simply guidelines that allow the doctor to monitor the pace of your child’s development over time. Don’t worry if your baby does not do all of the things addressed above. This may be completely normal.
A complete head-to-toe exam will be performed. Don’t be afraid to ask what the doctor is looking for while doing the exam. For example, be sure to ask why he shines the light in the eyes from several feet away (to check for a lazy eye), and is it still normal to have no teeth (indeed, it is; some don’t get them until 12 months). And remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question.
This is the time when the doctor can give some insight as to what to expect before the next visit. Issues concerning feeding, injury prevention, sleep position, and sleep patterns are some of the topics that the doctor may discuss.