Children Develop in Similar but Different Ways

Development in humans happens slowly and progressively over different age groups. Development is a journey. It is not a competition. Development occurs in different areas – physical, motor, cognitive, emotional and social. As we develop most of these areas during our early years, it is far more important than adolescent or later development. 

Development in Children

While there are developmental milestones, children may develop differently and may not truly follow the same recommended stages. However, this is not to say that a child must be left to their own device. As a parent, it is important to look for any delays that you may feel warrant a closer look. There is never any harm in getting advice for your child’s physical and mental health. 

Developmental Tasks in Infants

Developmental Tasks

Now, let’s take a look at the overall developmental tasks and the specific speech and language milestones that infants are expected to perform. The below tasks are some of the expected behaviours that infants should be able to perform. However, it is always advisable to consult your pediatrician about any concerns you may have. 

You can use the below table to identify if you child has completed these developmental tasks. But, do not worry if they haven’t. Some children can develop slower than others. However, it is important to keep observing their developmental behaviours.  

Developmental tasks Expected age Completed
Rolls from stomach to back 0-6 months  
Reaches for a toy 0-6 months  
Transfers toy from one hand to another 0-6 months  
Looks for noises made near him/her 0-6 months  
Makes sounds for specific reasons like hunger or toilet 0-6 months  
Helps hold bottle after drinking 0-6 months  
Plays with toes 0-6 months  
Pats mirror image 0-6 months  
Puts everything into his/her mouth 0-6 months  
Follows toys when held in front of eyes and moved 0-6 months  
Sits without support 6-12 months  
Pulls to standing position 6-12 months  
Crawls on fours 6-12 months  
Feeds self a biscuit 6-12 months  
Turns pages off a book 6-12 months  

*Taken from Academic problems in primary school children enrolled under SSA-Karnataka (All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, Mysore)

Speech and Language Milestones

Expected Age Receptive language Expressive language Completed
0-3 months Alerts to voice Cries; social smile; coos  
4-6 months Responds to voice; name Laughs out loud; Clicks tongue;
Begins babbling
7-9 months Turns head toward sound Says names for mother and father
10-12 months Enjoys “peek a boo”;
Understand no;
Follows 1 step command
with gesture
Says ‘ma’ and ‘dada’ appropriately;
Waves bye-bye; Begins to gesture;
Shakes head no;
1st word other than ‘mama/dada’

The opinions expressed here are that of the Author

At InclusivEd, our endeavour is to support children through an Inclusive approach to learning. Follow us on Facebook to know more.

Importance of Early Intervention

Ask any architect, and they will tell you the importance of a strong foundation. Once the foundation is in place and the supports are provided, a beautiful house can be built. Likewise, the early years of your child are of paramount importance, especially if they are at risk or have special needs. With the right support, focus and professional guidance, any child can be enabled to build a beautiful life. Early Intervention is required to ensure the child receives this support.

What is Early Intervention?

Fortunately, the world is moving ahead in the space of inclusion and there is a lot more awareness that children with special needs require support from the beginning. Therefore, early diagnosis and intervention is of utmost importance.

Early intervention is defined as a group of strategies that provide adequate support to children with additional support needs as well as to their families and caregivers. To put it simply, these strategies ensure that your child is able to cope better as they grow.

Child and Parent - Early Intervention

The relationship between the child and teacher

Ideally, early intervention can start only after diagnosis, which can be done only after your child has turned 4 or 5 years old. During their early years, children spend a majority of their waking hours with their teachers. Often, we undermine the importance of our pre-school and kindergarten teachers. However, in case of early intervention, there are pivotal to the child’s success.

The Problem

Teachers are the ones creating the foundation for all children to grow and succeed. Hence, they should be given training in identification of children with additional support needs. They should be included in creating the curriculum and designing the syllabus. They are the core of the development of a child with additional needs and they must have the resources to ensure they can be productive.

Unfortunately, the importance of these teachers is being undervalued both by schools as well as parents. Schools need to start looking at primary teachers more favourably and parents need to recognise the impact these teachers have on their child’s life. If the teacher at the kindergarten does not teach a child the alphabets, it is that much harder for them to cope when they reach higher grades. For a child with additional needs, a teacher’s support could mean the difference of whether they would be able to cope, feel included and excel in our society.

Early diagnosis, intervention and a teacher’s role in this process must be given more attention. Otherwise, we all fail in supporting a child when they require it the most.

The Opinions expressed are that of the Author

At InclusivEd, our endeavour is to support children through an Inclusive approach to learning. Follow us on Facebook to know more.

Myths about Children

When children are born, we believe that there needs to be an instinctual way of parenting them. Very often, we adopt the one-size-fits-all notion and group children as one type. Hence, applying the same techniques and strategies to parent them. We also tend to fall back on age old stereotypes and myths, that can be detrimental to a child’s development. Here are some of those myths busted: 

Myth 1 – Children do not experience stress or
depression like adults

Child Depressed

Truth – Every person goes through some form of stress.  The expression of that stress is also different. It may be hard to understand or observe depression in children, but it can happen. Depression can affect individuals as small as infants where it is recognized as ‘anaclitic depression’.

Anaclitic depression is a severe deterioration of the physical, social and psychological development of the infant when separated from the mother for a long period of time. Not all children who are sad, can be diagnosed as depressed. But parents should look out for drastic sudden mood changes, lack of appetite, a feeling of hopelessness, sudden outbursts of tantrums and anger. If you have noticed that your child is experiencing some of these changes and it is affecting his/her daily life, please consult a mental health doctor.

Myth 2 – Children have to be the ‘best’ in their field

Child reaching for the stars

Truth – It is natural to want your child to be the best. But you are also putting undue pressure on a child who will grow to believe that making mistakes or failing is the worst thing in the world. Children experience unspeakable amounts of psychological stress when they are subjected to high amounts of pressure. Encourage your child to improve themselves, have goals, accept their failures and most of all, just love themselves as they are.

Myth 3 – A slap never hurt anyone

Punished Child - Skao

Truth – Parents have a challenging task of disciplining their child with all the pressures from the outside world. So no one can blame you, if you in anger, raise your hand against your child to discipline him/her. But parents, it is never a good practice to start. What you are teaching your child, is that whenever he/she experiences anger or frustration, the way to solve the problem is to physically react. Children learn from the behavior of the adults around them and will replicate that behavior in front of their peers and other individuals around them. Discipline is good but it can be inculcated in better ways.

Myth 4 – Children who practice problem behaviors will eventually outgrow them

Angry Child - Misbehaviour

Truth – Misbehavior is not uncommon in children. We all want to break rules, play pranks, do things independently but the concern starts when some of these behaviors get worse or start physically and mentally hurting the people around us. Children with severe problem behaviors grow up to continue those behaviors if not treated. Parents, when you notice that your child has been acting out or misbehaving to a point of hurting someone else, either physically or mentally, please seek help immediately. Sometimes these behaviors can go unnoticed and therefore unresolved.

Myth 5 – Children who develop late can grow out of it later

Child Studying

Truth – In my experience, there are a few children who develop later than the appropriate age and have managed to catch up to their developmentally appropriate peers. But a majority of children who develop late need extra support in bridging that gap so that they are able to perform like their peers. More than three fourths of children with disabilities have a history of delay in their developmental milestones. Parents, if you observe that your child has not developed appropriately in terms of motor skills,speech, language expression, please consult a clinical psychologist today. There is nothing better than seeking the right kind of support for your child at the right time.

The opinions here are of the Author. 

At InclusivEd, our endeavour is to support children through an Inclusive approach to learning. Follow us on Facebook to know more.

What is Inclusive Education?

The field of education has come a long way. We have moved away from segregating children into special and non-special schools. Rather, schools these days follow an Inclusive approach. Inclusive Education is a child-centric approach, where schools include differently-abled children in the mainstream structure. 

Mainstream school with classroom doors open - Inclusivness
Inclusive Education is a child-centric approach, where schools include differently-abled children in the mainstream structure

While, inclusive education has become a buzz word; the actual practice of inclusion can only come about when we first acknowledge what the child needs. We need to understand the child’s areas of concerns and requirements in terms of support. Inclusion does not mean we force a child to be part of a mainstream structure, only because it is the norm to do so. 

Integrative vs Inclusive

There is a huge difference between integrative and inclusive practices. Integration means that a child with a disability is part of the mainstream school but is refrained from doing the same things as his / her peers. Whereas, inclusive practices are those which ensure that a child with a disability is allowed to perform the same or similar functions as his / her peers. 

Benefits of Inclusive Education:

  • Diversity in the classroom: The peer group is an important part of every child’s life. Children learn from each other quicker than they would from the adults around them. When we have a classroom that is a mixture of children with or without additional support needs, we are teaching important values of acceptance, support, creativity and empathy
  • Collaboration in the classroom: Children learn that they need to accept one other and be better team players. When you have children from diverse backgrounds and with diverse needs, they soon realize that they need to support one another in order to better themselves.
  • Preparation for reality: An inclusive classroom prepares children for the outside world.  It allows them to learn how to understand each other and live in harmony.
  • Breaks down the stereotypes: Inclusive classrooms help in educating children about what additional support needs are and what are the stereotypes associated with it. It helps in reducing the stigma attached to the various ‘disabilities’ and allows children to become better informed.
  • Better teaching practices: Inclusive classroom challenges the educator in a good way. He/she will need to cater to all learning styles as well as effectively practice differentiated instruction. This form of teaching will benefit, not only a child with additional support needs, but all children.

Inclusive education is a philosophy and a way of imparting education to ALL children. It needs to cater to all children in the classroom to allow them to grow together so that we can have a better and brighter future. 

At InclusivEd, our endeavour is to support children through an Inclusive approach to learning. Follow us on Facebook to know more.