Development is a complex, ongoing, and rapidly changing process. There is a range of time when skills begin and are attained or “mastered”. There are also age-based standards when a lack of an observed skill or behavior is considered delayed and requires intervention. Understanding what behaviors are to be expected at a certain age (and “developmentally appropriate”) and when they suggest a reason for more concern and professional follow-up can be complicated. Some disabilities have early signs and symptoms that can be identified. (*In my next few blogs I will highlight early signs and screening for some of the most common early childhood developmental disabilities including autism and ADHD.)
When a child is not showing age expected skills or when challenging behaviors are more intense, frequent, or sustained compared to other children who are the same age, it is important to consult a professional trained in development and disability. Again, all children can be expected to display challenging behaviors to some extent, particularly when they are tired, sick, scared or learning how to express frustration and assert independence. However, when problems are hard to manage or cause difficulty in school or at home, getting professional support can provide assistance, including increasing effective parenting and behavior management strategies, building positive parent-child relationships, enhancing learning and academic success, and determining if an underlying disability is present. Florida Early Intervention can also assist with free developmental screening and services for young children (0-3).
Florida Early Intervention: http://www.floridahealth.gov/alternatesites/cms-kids/early_steps_directory/
Zero to Three: https://www.zerotothree.org/early-development
Center for Disease and Prevention: Developmental Milestones
Kids Health: Growth and Development: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/growth/?WT.ac=p-nav-growth