Is Your Child Meeting Development Milestones? The CDC Has an App for That
There are apps that track everything from your fitness goals and calories consumed to the whereabouts of your spouse or significant other. However, if you have a young child from age 2 months to 5 years in your life, the free CDC Milestone Tracker is a pretty good mobile app for tracking your child’s development.
It’s well known that how and when a child speaks, acts, moves, plays, and learns can be linked to certain medical conditions, such as autism. The CDC’s interactive app flags signals that may indicate a child’s development warrants the attention of a healthcare provider. While public service YouTube videos in the form of a lecture from a respected physician are informative, the Milestone Tracker app is not only useful, but intuitive and interactive, with good user interface and user experience design. Simply create a profile in the Milestone Tracker for each child and then compare against an interactive checklist that has photos and videos so you know what each milestone should look like.
For example, talk with your child’s doctor if your 6-month-old boy “shows no affection for caregivers” or “doesn’t make vowel sounds (‘ah’, ‘eh’, ‘oh’). Or, at 4 years, “has trouble scribbling,” “can’t jump in place,” or “can’t retell a favorite story.” There are also helpful age-appropriate tips and activities to support your child’s development at each age.
The Milestone Tracker app is available on iOS and Android devices. Disclaimer: This app is not a substitute for the use of standardized developmental screening tools recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The CDC does not collect or share any personal information that can be used to identify you or the child.
According to estimates from the CDC, about 1 in 68 children have been identified with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Another government study suggests that the numbers are even higher—1 in 45 children aged 3 years and older. The Autism Speaks website notes that it is possible to diagnose autism at 18 months or younger. If a child doesn’t receive a final diagnosis until much older, this could mean a delay in getting help.
The Milestone Tracker app was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” program with contribution from the Computing for Good program at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.