Child development from birth to age 5

Francine Ferland, ergotherapist and author of the book “My child’s development”, divides the child’s development into eight spheres. These spheres are to be considered as parts of a whole, like the different pieces of a unique puzzle.

Thus, if some pieces of the puzzle are smaller, others are consequently bigger. Your child has one or two large pieces that represent their interests and strengths, whereas the smaller pieces represent their daily challenges.

The Child Development Institute (CDI) provides a useful chart featuring the different stages of development in children. Use this chart to help point out your child’s strengths and weaknesses.

When to worry and when to seek help

You may notice that your child is definitely not at the same level of development as the other children his age. Take time to observe him while he is doing different activities to identify what seems to be a challenge. It can also be helpful to speak with your child’s educator, a friend, or a family member to see if others share your concern.

Your family members or close friends may also notice something different about your child and may not talk about it to avoid hurting you. If you start the conversation, they will most likely give you an honest answer. If you wish to consult a professional, verify the different services offered by your local community center. You may wait a little while before you will get an appointment, but it will be free. You can also see a private evaluator which is more expensive, but they will allow you to ease your anxiety much earlier and offer other resources if necessary.

Here are professional associations that can be useful in finding the right person for your situation:

Solène Bourque

Solène Bourque is a mother of two; Ariane and Thomas. She is a psychoeducator and a certified instructor in infant massages. She worked for many years in community programs with children aged 0 to 5 years old and she now teaches Special Education in the Cégep du Vieux-Montréal. She co-wrote ‘100 trucs pour les parents des tout-petits’, published in 2010 with the Éditions de Montagne. Become a fan of her facebook page.

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