WISCONSIN— The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics recently updated their developmental milestones for the first time in nearly 20 years. 

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Those changes included extending the age a child should be walking to 18 months old, and loosening expectations on children learning and pointing to body parts from one to two years old. 

Not all professionals who work with children are on-board with these changes but Children’s Hospital Wisconsin pediatrician Dr. Sharyl Paley said the changes should not concern parents. 

“Before, our milestones were based on the 50th percentile mark. So, when 50% of kids reached a certain milestone, that’s when they said it was a normal milestone and to be aware if they weren’t hitting it yet. Now, they changed it to the 75th percent.”

The changes acknowledge it can take kids a bit longer to catch up with the majority, but it’s now seen as normal instead of a potential problem.

However, that doesn’t mean intervention isn’t needed; Dr. Paley said it’s best to at least discuss concerns with your provider if you have questions.

“As a pediatrician, sometimes, if you don’t tell me you’re worried about something, I can’t help either relay your fears or say, ‘No, let’s check that out a little more.”’

Dr. Paley said if case intervention is needed, doctors will work with other providers— such as speech or physical therapists— to help aid the child in hitting those milestones, providing appropriate help.

Read the updated CDC developmental milestones, here.