One of the things I love the most about working with kids, is their language development! It is SO much fun to see them get so excited over new language. Within the last few weeks language around our house as completely taken off. From One word sentences to 2-3 word sentences in what seems like over night. So, I have been in toddler talk excitement mode all week. Here is an easy Month to Month guide of where your child will be at each phase in the early childhood language department!
April is World Autism Awareness Month! For the rest of the month I will be sharing information, facts, and tips on Autism. I am so excited to be talking about Autism all month long! I have always had a passion for Autism and I have always been fascinated with Autism and the behaviors that it can sometimes come with. Autism is often misunderstood… So I’m hoping to get rid of a few of those misconceptions with a few of the most commonly asked questions on Autism.
What is Autism?
Autism is an umbrella term for a group of brain disorders. These disorders interfere with a child’s ability to communicate and interact normally with others (close family members included!) It is distinguished by a wide variation of social, communication and cyclical behaviors that are considered out of the norm for children. The signs if Autism can be very subtle or they can be very noticeable and severe. (See signs and symptoms) There is such a huge range of behaviors that may have different symptoms of autism that the exact term for the cluster of disorders is, Autism Spectrum Disorder. (ASD)
On a weekly basis, I perform Developmental Screenings on Preschool Age Children. These screenings include; Fine Motor, Gross Motor, Problem Solving, Personal Social and Communication. Over 60% of the kids I screen fail or are borderline failing the Fine Motor Development Section. I typically don’t worry about a child being low in the Fine Motor section if there aren’t other catergories where they have failed. Especially if they are a first year preschooler. As parents, a lot of times we don’t give our young children opportunities to develop their fine motor. Why? Well, fine motor play can be pretty messy sometimes! Scissors, paint, markers, tons of small toys…YIKES! What parent wants to give their kid scissors and markers??? But, it is so important! Fine motor skills in early childhood will affect writing and higher fine motor skills later in life.
Did you know that the brain of an infant is 250% more active than the brain of an adult? The infant brain produces connections faster in the first year of life than any other time of life! If that doesn’t make you want to do some productive play with your baby, I don’t know what does! The first year of life is incredible! Simple brain games and simple play can create those connections in the brain (called synapses) quicker in that first year than any other year!
Needless to say, the brain of an infant is unbelievable! A lot of times people will say to me that they don’t know how to keep their newborn entertained. It is actually pretty easy to create fun and exciting learning experiences for those tiny little humans. Here are a few of the easiest games and activities to use with a new baby. There is absolutely NO prep and you won’t have to spend a penny! Let’s get those active little brains workin’!
If you read my post on what toys are age appropriate (Click here to read it), you learned that I have a slight toy addiction! Not only do I absolutely LOVE toys, but I love getting a great deal on toys! Or even better, toys that I didn’t have to pay for at all!! That is why I get so excited about HOMEMADE TOYS!!! Yay! I LOVE toys that are made from home. Not only are they pretty much free, but they can sometimes be more fun than store bought toys. Not to “beautiful junk”. (Stuff that most people find to be garbage…but its actually amazing stuff that can be recycled). I searched high and low, pulled out all the stops and found the most amazing homemade toys that are great teaching tools and will ALL enhance Fine Motor Skills!! Get ready to be excited about your beautiful junk!