Healthy growth and development is important at all stages and ages of life. For children, however, the early years are especially important. Development is considered healthy when children of all abilities, including those with special health care needs, are able to grow up in an environment where their physical, social, emotional, and academic needs are met. As a child grows, he/she begins to develop a number of skills. These skills are referred to as developmental milestones. Children reach milestones in the way they behave, speak, learn, move, and place (e.g. crawling and walking or babbling and talking).
As a child grows, his/her development should be monitored in collaborative partnership by parents, caregivers, and professionals. In doing so, parents identifying delays can discuss their concerns with providers and learn about programs that may be helpful in addressing these concerns through early intervention.
You may be wondering: how does one learn about healthy child development and corresponding milestones? In October 2004, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) unveiled its national Learn the Signs. Act Early. campaign, focusing on raising awareness about healthy early childhood developmental milestones and underscores the importance of both tracking a child’s development and engaging in conversations with healthcare providers to discuss possible intervention strategies if there are concerns.
Through the use of complimentary, user-friendly tools and materials, parents, caregivers, and professionals (including librarians!) have the ability to form creative partnerships ensuring that children who demonstrate developmental delays can be identified early and begin accessing services and supports they might need.
To learn more about the CDC’s Learn the Signs. Act Early. National Campaign, please follow this link: www.cdc.gov/actearly