Child & Family Development Child & Family Development

December 2, 2020

Ask the Experts: Q & A Roundtable

A main priority of ours at C&FD, is taking a multidisciplinary approach to treat the whole child. By providing comprehensive and integrated services, we are able to support our clients and their families with efficiency. Parents and caregivers often have many questions about their child’s development. Throughout the month of November, our therapists will answer commonly asked questions and share ideas for supporting development in a number of areas.

Speech Therapy

Kelly Connor, CCC-SLP

Q: What speech sounds are developmentally appropriate?

Most parents have experienced at least one moment where their child said something that only they could understand. Speech sounds develop at different times; at times, speech errors can be developmentally appropriate.

  • p, b, m, n, h, w develop by age 3
  • k, g, d, f, y, “ng” develop by age 4
  • v, j, s, ch, l, sh, z develop by age 5
  • r, voiced th (i.e. the), zh (i.e. measure) develop by 6
  • Voiceless th (i.e. thing) develop by 7
  • A child should be understood by most people by age 3

It is important to note that some later developing sounds such as “r” may not fully develop until age 8 or later. Also, many different researchers have found variations in development. What is important is that your child is understood by others. If your child is three years old and most people cannot understand them, then an evaluation may be helpful.

Physical Therapy

Abby Morton, DPT

Q: My child just started to walk, what now?

 Your little one is on the move, what an exciting time! Early walkers tend to be eager to explore, despite being unsteady on his or her feet. Now is a great time to work on building confidence on the feet as well as encourage safe exploring within the environment.

Early walkers typically stand and walk with their legs further apart, giving more stability. As they learn to manage their bodies upright, the step width will narrow and you will see less falling occur. Some fun ways to improve stability, balance, and postural control include pushing a laundry basket with toys down the hall, walking through an obstacle course around toys and walking through a narrowed space between the coffee table and couch.

This is also a great time to explore different walking surfaces. Encourage your little one to walk around the house on hardwood, carpet, over a blanket, through the grass, up and down a hill, and through sand. The different textures and changing surfaces will challenge these walkers to develop new ways to maintain their balance when navigating. In addition, try each of these with and without shoes! Having a sturdy shoe will provide increased stability and ankle control while walking, which encourages more confidence each step. Walking with bare feet challenges the feet to adapt to the new surface they are walking on.

Occupational Therapy

Sam Develli, OTR/L

Q: Are there any tips or tricks on how to help my child initiate and participate in appropriate social interactions?

As with everything else in the era of Covid-19, social interactions have become a much more difficult and much more needed aspect in all of our lives. Further, for our kids, much of what they’ve heard these past few months is what we CAN’T do. Therefore, the first step in promoting appropriate social interaction and improving understanding of our current limitations is to share with your child the ways in which they CAN socialize. Based on your family circumstances, the area in which you live, and your daily routines, this will differ from person to person. Here are some ideas to promote social interaction during Covid:

  1. If your child is able to attend to a screen or phone call, schedule a time each week in which they can talk to a friend/classmate/family member. This simple routine will ease the unknowns of our current state and provide a much needed opportunity for your child to share and connect with others outside of your household. If you’re able, this is a great chance to coordinate an activity that can be shared or completed concurrently across a webcam (i.e. games, crafts, cooking, etc).
  2. Writing with pen pals is another amazing way to connect with others outside of your household. If your child is able to write, help them as needed to create a short letter to a friend or family member of their choice and mail it out, asking for a response. If they can dictate, you can write their thoughts for them to still allow for their self-expression. Even creating and receiving a picture can be an amazing way to connect with others during this lonely time.
  3. Touch base with local friends/peers and coordinate an outdoor activity in a small group that still allows for social distancing. Going on a bike ride, going to a park and swinging, or even coloring with sidewalk chalk can all be awesome activities that can be done at a safe distance while still getting some of the much needed face-to-face time with peers.

Developmentally-Appropriate Chores

(Case-Smith & O’Brien, 2015)

Age: 13 months

  • Imitates housework

Age: 23 months

  • Picks up and puts toys away with reminders
  • Copies parents’ activities

Age: 3 years

  • Carries objects without dropping
  • Dusts with help
  • Dries dishes with help
  • Gardens with help
  • Puts toys away with reminders

Age: 4 years

  • Fixes dry cereal and snacks
  • Helps sort laundry

Age: 5 years

  • Fixes dry cereal and snacks
  • Helps sort laundry