Developmental Milestones

Developmental Milestones

Chiropractic Virginia beach VA Child Girl Blowing A Dandelion

Developmental milestones are important indicators of a child's physical and behavioral growth during the early years of their life. These milestones include actions such as holding their head up, tummy time, sitting up, rolling over, crawling, walking, and talking. It is important to not only focus on motor development but also on the development of systems such as sleep, digestion, and immune function. These aspects of development are interconnected through the central or autonomic nervous system.

Developmental milestones can be categorized into six categories: motor, social, cognitive, behavioral and emotional, digestive, and immune. However, sleep is so important to an infant's development that it deserves its own category. Sleep and rest are critical to a child's growth, perhaps more than anything else.

A child's development is unique, and each child develops at their own pace. However, certain developmental age markers can help identify when something is off track. If a child struggles to turn their head side to side, latch, swallow, digest, and nurse, or if they favor just one side with their head and neck, frequently appearing "stuck" in one direction over the other, or has a flat spot on their head that remains at one month old, it may be a sign that they need to be checked by a trained Pediatric Chiropractor specializing in neurodevelopment.

Similarly, if a child consistently struggles with sleep, digestion, and immune function, or spends far more time crying and looking distressed than making eye contact, smiling, interacting, babbling, imitating sounds, engaging, etc., it may be a sign that they need to be checked by a trained Pediatric Chiropractor specializing in neurodevelopment.

What Causes Kids to Miss Developmental Milestones? Really the conversation about causes of developmental delays here needs to be taken in two parts. The first part describes what a subluxation is and how it’s so often involved in delaying and altering optimal neurodevelopment. And second, it’s important to discuss what causes the subluxation and resultant dysautonomia in the first place.

Even though these are pretty intricate neurological conditions and discussions, we want to keep the explanations simple, and simply put, subluxation means stuck. Subluxation has two (2) parts to it that parents need to know about:

  1. Altered Tone + Tension (too much and/or too little)
  2. Incoordination + Imbalance Because each subluxation component involves the NeuroMotor and NeuroSpinal Systems, it’s very much a player in developmental milestones since gross + fine motor functions are so intertwined into this conversation.

When a child is subluxated, the first response of the nervous system is to move into what’s called an excessive sympathetic state (dysautonomia). This leads to many of the muscles, especially those of the head, neck, and upper torso, being extremely tight, tense, and excessively wound up.

This looks like the challenges with latching, nursing, sleeping, colic, and reflux in a newborn infant. And since subluxation tends to first set up shop in the neck and upper back, and torso, it immediately alters developmental milestones as early as the first month of life. So what the heck caused the subluxation and increased tension in the first place? The most common case history findings I’ve seen in clinical practice for 15 years running now are the following three (3) things:

  • Significant amounts of stress and emotional challenges for the mother during pregnancy (maternal distress)
  • Breech positioning, cord-wrapped, and altered birth presentations
  • Birth interventions such as C-sections, manual assistance, forceps, vacuum, and induction Each of those physical stressors significantly impacts the developing infant’s head, neck, and upper torso nerves and muscles and creates the subluxation process. Put simply, birth trauma is a big deal and, in my opinion, the most overlooked aspect of developmental delays and neurodevelopmental challenges in children as a whole.

While traditional doctors often focus on granular details, they may miss the big picture of things like sleep, digestion, and immune function. Parents need and deserve a different approach, and that starts with a different perspective. They need doctors and practitioners who are going to dive deep and get to the root cause, check these kids for subluxation, dysautonomia, and developmental delays early and often… and overall, not rely on “watch and wait” or another medication to do the job.

How Can Pediatric Chiropractic Care Help? We’ll keep it simple once again. It starts with discovering if your child is subluxated, and if so… to what degree and where precisely within their motor system is that altered tension and incoordination.

As a pediatric chiropractor we not only do an in-depth case history and examination but with neurological and neuromotor testing called The INSiGHT Scans. These incredible scans take only minutes, are entirely safe and non-invasive, and help find exactly where those subluxations and areas of altered tone and tension are.

Many parents may already have had a pediatric PT, OT, Speech, and Developmental Motor Assessment done for their child. While those evaluations and therapies are fantastic and do so much good for developmentally delayed children… the INSiGHT Scans and our clinical process dive even deeper and look even further into the function of the neuromotor system. But please know this parents – kids are meant to be healthy, meet their milestones, and grow up to be strong, resilient, healthy, and happy! If you’ve got concerns with your child’s developmental milestones that you’d like checked by a trained pediatric chiropractor, simply book your first appointment today!


10:00am - 1:00pm
3:00pm - 6:00pm

10:00am - 1:00pm
3:00pm - 6:00pm

3:00pm - 6:00pm

10:00am - 1:00pm
3:00pm - 6:00pm


Saturday & Sunday

Vanella Chiropractic

4661 Haygood Rd #110
Virginia Beach, VA 23455

(757) 982-8989