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Understanding Milestones and Delays

Child-Development-Will-Be-Assisted

It’s amazing how a once helpless and totally dependent infant can over time become a skilled and independent individual. Every adult including you has passed through some developmental stages i.e infancy, childhood and adolescence. Through these stages, you have acquired skills and built capacity to function and respond efficiently to the demands of everyday life. However, some individuals are not capable of this due to some gaps in infancy and childhood.

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Child development is the pattern of change that occurs between birth and the end of adolescence. It is a multidimensional concept that encompasses physical, cognitive, language and socio-emotional aspects. Children develop through different stages in a relatively predictable time and pattern known as developmental milestones. Developmental processes in childhood are very critical and have a huge impact on a child’s capability later in life.  When children experience a significant lag in attaining age expected developmental milestones, it is called a developmental delay. Simply put, developmental delays occur when a child does not reach specific developmental milestones for his or her age. For example, if the normal age range for a child to begin walking is between 9-18 months and a 24 month old child is not able to walk, it can be considered as a motor developmental delay.

Two factors play major roles in child development. These are:

  • Heredity: A child can be born with a chromosomal abnormality if such is present in the genes of either or both parents. These abnormalities cause developmental delays.
  • Environment: Environmental influence occurs in cases of exposure to harmful agents during pregnancy and/or after birth thus causing delays in the child’s development.

InteractionBelow are some warning signs of a developmental delay at different stages of childhood.

INFANCY (0-12 months) : Most children start to speak their first words by 18 months of age and by age 3, most of them can make short sentences. However, if a child is unable to speak words or make short sentences by age 3, this is considered as a language developmental delay.

TODDLERHOOD (1-3 years): Children at 12 – 30 months are usually adventurous and playful as a result of their increased energy and curiosity but when children at this age exhibit the opposite, it may indicate a developmental lag.

PRESCHOOL (3-5 years): Preschoolers are usually calmer and less dependent than toddlers. They are learning to become more independent, imaginative and creative. However, if the opposite is displayed by a child within this age range, it may be a sign of developmental delay.

SCHOOL AGE (6-12 years): At this stage, a child is expected to be able to solve basic problems, distinguish between right and wrong thereby making somewhat independent decisions. However, a child that does not exhibit this competence might be experiencing a developmental delay.

It is expedient that parents monitor their child’s development and seek help when they notice some of these signs so as to enable the child undergo a thorough professional evaluation in order to ascertain the presence of a developmental delay and proffer necessary interventions.

Don’t delay when a developmental delay is noticed in your child or any child you know. Early interventions go a long way in alleviating the effects of developmental delays.

Kindly visit http://www.mobilehealthconsult.org for more information.

Remember to follow @DrMorayoJimoh for more informative updates on child development.

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You can also download our e-books on Child development by clicking HERE


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School Readiness: Getting Started

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At what age do you think your child should really start schooling?  Less than 2 years, 3-4 years or perhaps 5 years?

Well, some parents in our busy world today take their children as young as three months or even less to some form of schools especially crèches, while others may decide to wait until about age 2/3 years before enrolling their little ones in school.

To decide on what is best for a child at a certain age, it is advisable to understand the child’s developmental needs and see if the choice will help the child or do otherwise.

Sadly, many parents who enroll their children into schools at an early age will have limited opportunity to bond with their children. The parent to child bonding is a necessary aspect of a child’s emotional development. They are also not able to monitor the child’s progress as he/she attains age expected developmental milestones. Such children may eventually learn to sit, crawl, walk and talk in school in the absence of the parent. These schools usually have other children to be attended to as well. Therefore your child may not get adequate attention and care.

Parents are the ones that can truly give proper care and attention to their children especially at such a tender age.

You need to closely study and monitor your child;

  • Discover what he/she enjoys eating or drinking
  • Study his/her toileting pattern
  • Be familiar with his/her sleep-wake pattern
  • Monitor his/her language and motor development

If parents are fully involved in their child’s overall development, then such a child is being prepared for school.

Here are some important skills preschoolers can learn from home:

  • Basic Social Skills: build up your child’s social skills by modelling and practicing with him/her how to relate well with other kids. Watch how your child relates with his/her peers. Encourage good behaviours with praises and other forms of motivation and discourage bad behaviours as well.

 

  • Virtues: Home is the first place a child learns virtues. After all, “Charity begins at home”, Preschoolers can learn to be polite, to share and to forgive, by watching their parents. When parents instill virtues in their child, it would be easier for such a child to relate with other children when they start schooling.

 

  • Independence: A child should have some level of independence before starting school, the child should be able to engage in certain activities with little or no assistance such as eating, drinking and choose what toys to play with without depending on the parents.

 

  • Communication: Your child should be able to indicate through signs and short sentences what he wants, or at least one word. It makes it easier for such a child to cope in a school where there are other children to attend to.

 

  • Potty-training: It is advisable that a child should be potty trained before starting school. That way, the child will go through the potty training stage with the help of loving parents rather than impatient nannies.

 

It is important that your child is ready before starting school so as to avoid social and emotional difficulties while in school. With the above tips in place, you can be sure that they are ready to make friends and learn academic subjects with little or no difficulty.

Stay updated with tips on child development @DrMorayoJimoh.

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Also Download our NEWLY PUBLISHED CHILD DEVELOPMENT E-BOOKS BY CLICKING HERE


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Understanding Dyslexia: Strengths and positive skills

HiResWith the previous article dwelling on the signs and causes of dyslexia, it is important to note that a formal psycho-educational assessment is required to ascertain if a person has dyslexia. This assessment is aimed at examining memory, language, orientation in time and space, behaviour, motor skills, intellectual ability, bodily awareness, information processing, psycho-linguistic processing, and academic skills of the child. It determines whether or not the child is reading, writing or spelling at age appropriate level. Such assessments also take into account the child’s birth history, developmental milestones and overall school performance. It is conducted by trained specialists such as educational psychologists.

Strengths and positive skills of individuals with dyslexia

Although children with dyslexia have average or above average intelligence, they may experience difficulties learning language based subjects since language is the most common mode of communicating new knowledge in schools. People or children with dyslexia can learn to read and be proficient in language skills when their strengths are maximized. They have inherent strengths that if used can make them perform at levels at par with their contemporaries.

Below are some positive strengths of individuals with dyslexiaStrengths

  • They are great at visuo-spatial thinking.
  • Fast problem solvers who are able to think laterally
  • They are intuitive and good at reading people
  • They are verbally articulate and may be  great communicators
  • Creativity is a major strength possessed by them – so many people with dyslexia excel as designers, artists, actors and more
  • They are excellent at solving puzzles
  • They are spatially talented- many individuals with dyslexia are employed as engineers, architects, designers, artists, mathematicians, physicists, physicians, dentists and some other professions.
  • Individuals with dyslexia frequently enjoy above average physical co-ordination skills
  • they possess great emotional strengths such as empathy
  • They are inclined to think outside the box most of the times.
  • They are persistent individuals.

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In order to maximize these strengths, brain based strategies are necessary to be utilized when teaching individuals with dyslexia and this will be the focus of the next article.

Always remember that individuals with dyslexia have strengths and learn differently!

Follow @DrMorayoJimoh for more updates. You can contact us for a consultation on dyslexia by clicking HERE

We would love to hear from you at Mobile Health Consult!

 

 

 


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Understanding Dyslexia: Myths and Truths

Are you a parent? A teacher? A school administrator? A special education needs coordinator or consultant? Are you just a lover of children? Do you know anyone who has a child with learning difficulties? Are you interested in enhancing children’s learning ability?

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If you answered yes to any of the questions above, then this month’s series on DYSLEXIA is for you. The theme is Understanding Dyslexia. The aim of this series is to uncover what dyslexia really is in the face of prevailing myths. We will be sharing with you the signs, factors responsible, possible intervention plans and strategies, and other interesting information.

Long ago, dyslexia was termed as word blindness. It was also associated with visual impairment. More than it was an educational problem or psychological one, Dyslexia was considered a medical problem that stemmed from damages to brain areas that control language. This introductory article will highlight what dyslexia means and some common myths about dyslexia. You will find out that a child who expresses difficulty reading, or has challenges with sounds or letters of the alphabet is not stupid, lazy or lacking motivation.

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia as a word can be broken into two parts- Dys and lexia. Dys means “the absence of” while lexia means language. Thus, Dyslexia is commonly regarded as a difficulty with language which may include: reading, spelling, writing and sometimes speaking.

9 Myths about Dyslexiaalphabet

1. Dyslexia is a visual problem: Reversing letters as b’s instead of d’s is one of the signs of dyslexia but not a sufficient cause or sign for a dyslexia diagnosis. Most children while learning how to write, may reverse letters and eventually grow out of it.

2. Dyslexia affects only boys: Dyslexia is prevalent in both boys and girls. The reason boys get the most referrals is because of their behaviour. In expressing frustration regarding a reading difficulty, the teacher notices and makes referrals.

3. Poor performance equals dyslexia: Dyslexia as a learning difficulty does not imply intellectual disability. In fact most students with dyslexia may have an average or above average intelligence.

4. Dyslexics cannot read:  Children with dyslexia may find it difficult to read, but they can learn to read in which case, it takes them greater effort and more time to read.

5. Dyslexia can be outgrown: Dyslexia as we will see later is a difficulty that stems from impairments in brain functioning. As such, children with dyslexia grow on to become adults who read less automatically like those without dyslexia.

6. Dyslexia is caused by a lack of phonics instruction: Teaching a child phonics will not alleviate dyslexia . While they are able to learn phonics,  they experience difficulties applying them.

7. Every child who struggles with reading is dyslexic: Dyslexia is the most common cause of difficulties with reading, but it is by no means the only cause. Dyslexia does not only cause difficulties in reading but also in spelling, speech, and memorization. If a child is dyslexic, there will be other warning signs.

8. People with dyslexia see things backwards: Children with dyslexia do not see things backwards because dyslexia is not a problem with the eyes. Dyslexia may cause people to reverse certain words because of their confusion when discerning between left and right and their difficulties with comprehension.

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9. Children with dyslexia are just lazy. They should try harder!: Research has shown that those with dyslexia use a different part of their brain when reading and working with language. Dyslexic people show an abnormal pattern of brain function when reading: they show  under-activity in some regions and over-activity in another which, according to researches, accounts for the difficulty they have in extracting meaning from the printed word.

 

 

stupid 2A number of research studies have  provided evidence that people with dyslexia are not poorly taught, lazy, or stupid, rather they  have an inborn brain abnormality that does not have anything to do with their intelligence. When teachers and parents are not aware of these facts, the child is often labelled or branded as being ‘lazy or stupid.’ If children with dyslexia are not diagnosed early enough or do not receive the right type of intervention or classroom accommodations, they often struggle in school.

With the above myths and corresponding truths to debunk them, it is clear that many people including professionals have the wrong idea regarding the cause, symptoms, diagnoses and interventions for  Dyslexia.

 Always remember that every child learns uniquely, Dyslexia isn’t stupidity or laziness!

Welcome to the Dyslexia Awareness month!  Follow @drmorayojimoh for interesting updates.

 

 


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Possessed, Insane or SPECIAL?

Special childrenIn those days and maybe even now, the uneducated or superstitious would say  they are demon possessed,  others refer to them as witches,  the “educated” but uninformed may refer to them as abnormal, or maybe disabled or mentally retarded, but we call them SPECIAL.. and they are Special

Yes Special!

These children are indeed special. Beyond the difficulties they and their caretakers or parents face, these children are a true source of joy to the heart. They make you smile, they make you laugh, they make you cry and they make your wonder how great God is. black child An expectation of birth comes with gladness that is immediately dwindled with the sudden realization that the child carried for 9 months may have a developmental disorder that would affect his/her quality of life.  Some of these disorders such as Down Syndrome which is caused by an abnormality in the genes may be detected at birth while some others cannot be detected prior to birth.

downDevelopmental disabilities are a group of physical or mental conditions that children may present with as a result of an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas. They have a low to average Intelligent Quotients (IQ)  and may have difficulties in social and communicative behavior. Learning and teaching proves a herculean task for the children and teachers respectively.These conditions begin during the developmental period, may impact day-to-day functioning and may improve as the child grows older but usually last throughout a lifetime. Most developmental disabilities begin before a baby is born, but some can happen after birth because of injury, infection, or birth complications, trauma to the brain etc. Early detection and intervention play key roles in helping children with developmental disorders. Usually a delay in speech, motor and physical development may indicate the presence of such disorders. Parents and Teachers need to consult professionals in the field of special education should they observe a delay or disturbing behaviour or symptom.

You may ask how does this concern me. You probably feel you have other problems to deal with. Whether or not you are directly involved with children with developmental disabilities, you have a role to play.

Firstly, these children are often stigmatized and labelled by society because they are considered different from the norm.  They are excluded from mainstream education, holding a job is even more difficult and people believe that they have no potential. Parents may also be frustrated and may not give the necessary care, love and encouragement the children need. Every member of the society needs to learn to accept their differences as unique qualities, after all we are all different people, even twins have observed differences. This is a call to accept and embrace children with developmental disorders as Autism, Down Syndrome, Asperger’s Syndrome, Learning disabilities, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, and other disorders.

Secondly, people are not aware that these disabilities are genetically caused. Like the title suggests, some people feel they are demon possessed or witches and that’s why you need to help in spreading the word.

Did you know that Satoshi Tajiri, the creator of Pokémon had Autism?

They have great and unique potentials

Only look beyond their disabilities.   kids-smiling Be a VOICE to Children with Special Needs.

They need YOU.

They need ME.

They need LOVE.

Be  their VOICE.

Happy Global Autism Awareness Day.

Always remember, they are Special Children!

Spread the word by sharing this article


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Keep your child mentally active!

In this brain awareness week, it is important to realize that there is a dire need to encourage the appropriate development of children mentally. Keeping your child mentally active is one of the best things you could do for that child. This is vital as the brain of a child is more ‘plastic’ than that of adults and hence more prone to change. The learning of new helpful habits and exercises would boost your childs mental abilities and ultimately benefit your child in the future. Below are different ways to keep your child mentally active!

1. Encourage them learn to play instruments:   Playing an instrument as a child, according to a study published by the American Psychological Association (APA), keeps the mind sharper as the child grows. As enjoyable as it may be, it is a challenging cognitive exercise which would keep your child mentally active!

2. Encourage them to read wide: kid reading bookBesides doing their homework or reading books their school requires them too, encourage them also to read other books they’d enjoy. Pick different but interesting knowledgeable topics such as animals, planets and even fantasy so they have broad knowledge. This way reading does not become a chore but a hobby. Find time to read with your children in order to bond with them and make reading a fun experience that would keep your child mentally active!

3. Encourage them to solve picture puzzles: pat1-624x395Picture puzzles are a great way of tasking a child mind. Picture puzzles have been found to exercise both parts of the brain. The logic and sequence of the left-brain and the creativeness and intuity of the right brain are utilized when solving picture puzzles. Use colourful picture puzzles and different ones as well so your child does not get bored by solving the same puzzle again and again. New picture puzzles would bring new challenges that would keep your child mentally active!

4. Encourage brain training games:OfferButton1-sm Brain training games are different from other video games as they are developed to target and develop specific areas of your child’s brain. The aim is to improve the overall mental ability of your child step by step using fun games. Brain training games such as Brainware Safari use proven clinical approaches to cognitive skills development into an engaging video game format that children enjoy. This is a very good way to keep your child mentally active!

5. Encourage outdoor games and physical activities: Kids-Playing-OutsideFresh air and enough space to run around and play are also vital for your childs mental development. Physical activities with other children helps your child develop social skills such as co-operation and empathy towards others. Good social skills and a good social life would help keep your child mentally active!

6. Encourage reduced television time:Kid-watching-TV Too much television is unhealthy for a child mentally. This is the stage were their imaginations are to go wild and free, but television restricts that. Encourage other enjoyable activities and allow your child watch television on a few occasions in order to keep your child mentally active!

Start today! Encourage and challenge your child daily. This will boost confidence, increase resilience and KEEP YOUR CHILD MENTALLY ACTIVE!wavebreak-media_smart-kid-blackboard-300x300


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Understanding your Child’s Growth and Development

Most parents are concerned about whether or not their children are developing and progressing at a normal rate.

“When should my child crawl?”

“When should she start speaking?”

“At what age should he be walking?”

These are important questions that are commonly on a mother’s mind. If the birth of a baby came with an instruction manual then it may be easy for parents to track observed changes in their children. The purpose of this article is to enlighten you on the developmental progress of your child. Parents and caregivers who have a good understanding of the normal child development will be more alert  and better able to detect the signs of abnormal development and behavior. This will in turn help in seeking early intervention for such children.

Although, each child develops differently, Developmental milestones  are a set of functional skills or age-specific tasks that most children can do at a certain age range. Developmental milestones are the keys to detecting typical or atypical development in your child. As such when you are familiar with these milestones, you will begin to eagerly anticipate you child reaching them at the stipulated age ranges.

Before your child reaches adolescence, three developmental stages they pass through sequentially include:

  • Infancy (Birth -2 years )
  • Early Childhood (2- 5 years)
  • Middle and Late Childhood (6 – 12 years)

Tracking the changes you observe in your child will give you an insight into his/her needs. Knowing which milestone your child has reached at a certain age can also give a hint as to the possibility of a developmental delay.The main areas of development include:

  • Physical Development (Physical Growth and Motor Development)moto development
  • Language Development
  • Cognitive Development
  • Socio-emotional Development

Click below to download charts on motor development and language development in infancy and early childhood.

CHILDREN DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES – Motor Development

CHILDREN DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES- Language Development