I worked as a childcare teacher for seven years. I had the opportunity to work with children in a variety of age groups, from 6 weeks to 6 years old.
I would have conversations with families about their child’s activities during the day, preferences for certain play materials, and sometimes their child’s development. Some families were not aware of typical developmental milestones while others were very aware of them and sometimes worried if their child had not yet reached a particular milestone. It is easy for parents to compare their child to a child’s sibling, cousin or other children in the childcare. I always wanted parents to keep in mind that all children develop differently. I have a niece, the first born, who was talking in “paragraphs” by age 12 months, while her younger sister was not talking much until age 3 and a half.
There is a range in which certain developmental milestones occur, such as learning to walk. Some children start walking at 9 months and others don’t start until 16 months. It really does not matter at what age the child starts walking as long as they start the skill somewhere in the age range. I know as I reflect upon my own development that I tended to be a little behind with fine motor tasks, such as cutting with scissors. However, I did learn, and even though I still am not great at cutting on the lines, this skill is not required in my adult occupation, and no one seems to notice that my Christmas wrapping paper is not cut perfectly!
I was pleased to know, as an early childhood teacher, that families were interested and involved in supporting their child’s development. It has been my occupation to help early childhood educators and families understand typical and atypical. My goal is to provide information about typical developmental milestones as well as specific “red flags for developmental concerns” so that we can catch problems early and provide resource information so that families can get support for a child’s delay in development. There are some really great resources available to help young children with their development so that these children will not have to go to kindergarten feeling frustrated and overwhelmed, blaming themselves because they cannot keep up with the rest of the class. Many of the resources available to support a child’s developmental delay are free or low cost.
Look through the information about “Child Development Red Flags” for children Ages 1 month to 36 months, or Ages 36 months to 60 months. If you have concerns about your child’s development related to these red flags, contact the following resources to ask for support:
- For children ages 6 weeks to 33 months, contact First Steps Early Intervention.
- The phone number for Allen County is 1-877-494-5115.
- Call 1-866-725-2398, for the following counties: Dekalb, Elkhart, Kosciusko,LaGrange, Noble, Marshall, St. Joseph, Steuben or Whitley.
- For children ages 34 to 60 months (or a child not yet in kindergarten), call your local public school. There are free services available to children in this age range at ALL public school systems if the child qualifies for assistance.
You can also contact me with questions about typical and atypical development or specific disability information. I can be reached at 800-423-1498, or 260-745-2501 ext. 2496 (Allen County). I can also be reached through e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Nicole Wysong is the Inclusion Specialist at Early Childhood Alliance. Through The Indiana Partnership for Inclusive Child Care (IPICC) project, Nicole impacts families of children with special needs and their child care providers. IPICC focuses on:
- Offering on-site technical assistance
- Providing training opportunities
- Assisting child care providers to meet criteria in Paths to QUALITY
- Increasing awareness of and providing resources for the unique needs of all children
Contact Nicole at nwysong@ECAlliance.org or 800-423-1498.