Every parent thinks their child is the smartest, developing ahead of his peers. I was no exception.
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From the time my son was placed in my arms, his every move was cherished. His growth measured by milestones: rolling over, sitting, standing, walking and his first words. When he was 4 years old he told me, “Mom, my brain is like a computer. It stores information in folders. My eyes are like a camera. They take pictures of everything I see and put them in the folders.”
He was very smart.
What I didn’t see was when he went to the playground, he walked the fence rather than playing with other kids. He liked to roll in the sand and swing on the swing. He had his own world.
It never occurred to me that he had a developmental delay. He was meeting all the physical milestones and had great verbal skills.
What I didn’t know was his social and emotional development was significantly behind.
Once we were in school, he was not able to sit still, play with other children and had melt downs after lunch each day. He was regularly sent home from school, his behavior impacting his learning.
By second grade, I took him to a developmental pediatrician, where after two hours of testing, he was diagnosed on the autism spectrum.
I have often wondered what I could have done to support him before starting school. Having a regular pediatrician, attending all well child visits and having immunizations were key to understanding his development.
Most pediatricians will ask parents about their child’s development at well child visits. This is a parent’s opportunity to ask questions, discuss concerns and get more information.
In addition to well child visits, parents can monitor their child’s development by regularly screening their progress.
One way to monitor your child’s development is to use a screening tool such as the Ages and Stages Questionnaire or ASQ.
First 5 El Dorado provides free access to the ASQ on its Website at first5eldorado.com.
For more information on your child’s development, contact an early childhood specialist at 530-295-2403.
Early intervention is key to your child’s success. Trust your gut, ask questions and monitor your child’s development. You are your child’s first teacher.