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by Pat Simms-Elias
A baby is born. You gaze at his beautiful face, kiss her downy soft little head and count fingers and toes. Your child continues to steadily grow and develop, achieving important milestones along the way. The first smile, the first steps, the first words are all important developmental milestones a child reaches as they grow.
Many mothers of developmentally delayed children report they instinctively knew there was something different about their child but were often told, "don't worry, theyll grow out of it." Unfortunately too many precious windows of opportunity have been closed while waiting for the child to "grow out of it."
To address this issue, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) has launched a campaign called Learn the Signs. Act Early. They are asking physicians, educators, parents, grandparents and anyone else that cares for young children to learn how to identify atyptical development so help can be offered as soon as possible.
As an Early Interventionist (a special education teacher that works with very young special needs children), I witness daily just how important it is to begin helping a child and family earlier than later. A child that is not able to communicate becomes frustrated, which can lead to a multitude of behavior problems, affecting all family members involved.
We measure our childrens growth by keeping track of their height and weight, but we can also measure many other areas of development as well. Communication, Gross Motor (large muscle), Fine Motor (small muscle), Cognitive (thinking), Social/Emotional and Self-Help (eating, dressing, grooming, etc.) skills can be measured as well.
Visit the CDC website (www.cdc.gov) for detailed descriptions of a child's development in all domains of development, from 7 months to 5 years. It offers a multitude of information about typical development, what to do if youre concerned about your childs development, what a developmental screening is, why its important, who to contact if you think your child has a delay and how you can help your child.
The following is an abridged version of a developmental milestone chart to give a general idea of some age-appropriate abilities.
from the March-April 2006 issue