Five by Five—a Parent's 5 Minute Guide to 5 Areas of Development

Little boy with phone toyYou can expect to see a child's skills developing each month skills doctors refer to as "developmental milestones." Most parents get excited about major milestones such as when their child walks or says their first word. These milestones are important because they are good indicators of possible language, motor skill, social/emotional, or cognitive delays, autism or other learning disabilities.

Make the First Five Count for your child. Recognizing a problem in these five areas of development is your very first step to ensure your child gets the services he or she needs early at the time they can benefit the most. If a child misses a milestone, or if something doesn't feel quite right, notify your doctor it might indicate a problem. The most important thing for parents is to follow their instincts and share their concerns with their pediatrician.

Area 1 Cognitive: Thinking skills: including learning, understanding, problem-solving, reasoning, and remembering.

Your child should...

Area 2 Sensory: Interaction with the environment; reaction to and recognition of sights, sounds, textures and smells.

Your child should...

Area 3 Language: Speaking; using body language and gestures, communicating, and understanding what others say.

Your child should...

Area 4 Social/Emotional: Interacting with others; having relationships with family, friends, and teachers, cooperating, and responding to the feelings of others.

Your child should...

Area 5 Movement: Using large groups of muscles to sit, stand, walk, run, etc., keeping balance, and changing positions (gross motor skills); or, using hands to be able to eat, draw, dress, play, write, and do many other things (fine motor skills).

If you suspect your child may have a problem, don't delay. Contact your family doctor, public health nurse, or Easter Seals in your area immediately.

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