"Show me the hard part.” This little phrase can make a difference in helping kids feel confident and understanding their struggles.
Kindergarten marks an important time in the lives of most children. It marks the years of budding independence, new experiences, and broadened horizons. These years provide the foundation of knowledge that supports them through the next ten or more years of their education and lives. These years are simultaneously when children may begin to struggle academically. More rigorous workloads, higher expectations, and definitive milestones may be the culprit. However, developmental delays are extremely important to catch as early as possible. Knowing what to expect from our children becomes extremely important. Milestones are distinct markers that help teachers and parents understand where the majority of children are developmentally, at every age. This way, delays are caught early and quickly intervened. Making sure your child attends a day care or school that provides a quality daycare software program that helps you keep track of milestones and development, can be tremendously helpful. Act early by talking to your child’s doctor if your child:
- Doesn’t show a wide range of emotions
- Shows extreme behavior (unusually fearful, aggressive, shy or sad)
- Unusually withdrawn and not active
- Is easily distracted, has trouble focusing on one activity for more than 5 minutes
- Doesn’t respond to people, or responds only superficially
- Can’t tell what’s real and what’s make-believe
- Doesn’t play a variety of games and activities
- Can’t give first and last name
- Doesn’t use plurals or past tense properly
- Doesn’t talk about daily activities or experiences
- Doesn’t draw pictures
- Can’t brush teeth, wash and dry hands, or get undressed without help
- Loses skills he once had
Talking to Your Pediatrician
Don’t be surprised if the pediatrician tells you not to worry, to be patient, to give your child more time to develop. Often, that’s what parents hear, especially in the early stages of investigating their child’s seeming delays. And it’s often true. Children develop at different rates; the pediatrician is well aware that many children show sudden bursts in development rather than slow, steady growth.
On the other hand, your pediatrician may recommend that a developmental screening be conducted. Its purpose is to see if, yes, your child is experiencing a developmental delay. The screening is a quick, general measure of your child’s skills and development. It’s not detailed enough to make a diagnosis, but its results show whether or not a child should be referred for a more in-depth developmental evaluation.
The developmental evaluation should be conducted by a highly trained professional who can use the results to create a profile of your child’s strengths and weaknesses. The evaluation needs to look at five developmental areas. A childcare software program can help keep track of these areas as well: They would look for:
- Physical development (fine motor skills, gross motor skills)
- Cognitive development (intellectual abilities)
- Communication development (speech and language)
- Social or emotional development (social skills, emotional control)
- Adaptive development (self-care skills)
The results of the developmental evaluation will be used to decide if your child needs a treatment plan. Treatment plans are tailored to meet a child’s individual needs and, as such, are a very important resource to children experiencing developmental delays. Early intervention services can include:
- Assistive technology (devices a child might need)
- Audiology or hearing services
- Speech and language services
- Counseling and training for a family
- Medical services
- Nursing services
- Nutrition services
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
- Psychological services
Special Education Services are meant for children over the age of three. Services are provided to eligible children free of charge through the public school system. If your child has passed his or her third birthday and you’re concerned about a developmental delay or disability, call your local school (even if your child isn’t enrolled there) and ask how and where to have your child evaluated under IDEA, our nation’s special education law.
By learning the signs and acting early, developmental delays can be intervened and immediate support can be given. If your child attends a daycare or school, make sure the childcare facility uses a quality child care software program that offers child developmental tracking. A quality childcare software program like iCareSoftware provides personal assistance from a developmental specialists 24 hours a day for any additional need and at no further cost. Knowing exactly what to look for can seem daunting for parents and even teachers, which is why iCareSoftware created features such as journaling and milestone recording to help busy parents and teachers keep track of their children’s’ development at every stage. Additionally, it is always very helpful to read more about developmental delay and ask your child’s doctor or school for additional information and support.