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Things to Watch For

Each child develops at his or her own rate of speed. Click here to review the normal developmental sequence of young children.

Some children appear to be particularly bright and behave in ways that seem older or more mature. They learn quickly and usually talk a lot. They show interest in many things and ask many questions. These children eventually may qualify for special programs that are geared to quick learners.

The following indicators are warning signals that may indicate delayed development and may be reasons for referral, screening or evaluation. See below for referral information.

Possible Visual Behaviors

  • Rubs eyes often.
  • Blinks eyes often.
  • Has "crossed" eyes, a "lazy" eye or wandering eyes.
  • Displays involuntary movements of one or both eyes.
  • Has red or sore eyes that itch.
  • Shows jerky eye movements.
  • One eye turns in or out, or eyes do not work together.
  • Has difficulty seeing things in the distance. Squints.
  • Holds toys or books very close to eyes.

Possible Hearing Behaviors:

  • Does not turn toward sounds.
  • Does not respond to unusual sounds.
  • As an older infant, does not squeal or babble.
  • Has frequent ear infections.
  • Displays poor speech, omits sounds.
  • Does not follow directions.
  • Has trouble paying attention in a large group.
  • Frequently tugs at ears.
  • Does not appear to understand what is said.
  • Talks too loudly.

Possible Speech or Language Behaviors:

  • Does not make wide variety of sounds as an infant.
  • Does not attempt to imitate sounds.
  • Does not have a true word by 12-18 months.
  • Does not have a vocabulary of about 50 words by age 2.
  • Does not use two - or three - word sentences by age 3.
  • Has speech difficult to understand by others at age 3.
  • Cannot tell others his/her needs by age 3.
  • Has poor voice quality, such as always sounding hoarse.
  • Does not respond appropriately to requests.
  • Does not follow directions.

Possible Physical or Movement Behaviors

  • Appears to be behind others of the same age in developing motor activities, such as crawling, sitting without support, climbing stairs, and riding a tricycle.
  • Frequently bumps into things.
  • Shows a lack of energy.
  • Appears to be behind of others of the same age in activities such as building a tower of blocks, scribbling, or self-feeding.
  • Appears limp and floppy, or rigid and stiff.

Possible Learning Behaviors

  • Does not reach for rattle or toy by 6 months.
  • Cannot tell the difference between different textures.
  • Cannot point to at least two body parts, after some practice, by 18 months.
  • Cannot tell the difference between different sounds.
  • Cannot follow simple directions by age 2.
  • Is unable to see differences in size, shapes and colors by age 4.
  • Cannot remember what is seen or heard by age 4.
  • Has difficulty learning simple tasks even after being shown several times.
  • Appears delayed in self-help skills such as dressing and putting toys away after being shown several times.
  • Does not seem to learn things as quickly as other children the same age.

Possible Social or Emotional Behaviors

  • Displays excessive crying or screaming.
  • Cannot be comforted.
  • Growth is stunted or fails to develop.
  • Shows excessive clinging behavior or the opposite.
  • Does not like to be touched.
  • Deliberately hurts other children.
  • Frequently tells lies or steals things.
  • Displays behaviors such as repeated head banging, rocking, or self-destructive behaviors.
  • Seems to be in his/her own little world.

If you think your child may need special services contact Child Find for referral information. click here.

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