March is Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
The month of March is celebrated as Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Intellectual and developmental disabilities are also called cognitive disabilities and were previously known as "mental retardation."
Intellectual or developmental disability are terms used to describe a person with limitations in both mental functioning like learning, skills like communicating, taking care of themselves and/or socializing. When people have an intellectual or developmental disability, it can take longer to learn to talk, to walk, and to take care of personal needs like bathing, eating and dressing.
Intellectual and developmental disabilities are diagnosed in children when they do not learn and develop at the same rate as other children. These disabilities last throughout the lifetime. An estimated 5 million people in the United States have intellectual and developmental disabilities (see http://aaiddjournals.org).
Children develop at different rates; some are quicker and others are slower. Developmental milestones are accomplishments that children as young as 2 months or as old as 5 years generally master all within the same time frame.
For example, a 2-month-old baby should be able to smile back at you and try to look at you and at others. Two-month-old babies are able to make some sounds, like cooing, and should be able to turn their heads toward sounds. A 2-month-old should begin to recognize familiar people by sight and can follow things moving across their field of vision. At 2 months, babies should also begin holding their heads up and pushing up from lying on their tummies.
If a 2-month-old baby does not respond to loud sounds; does not watch things as they move; does not smile at people; does not bring their hands to their mouth; or, can't hold their head up when pushing up on their tummy, a discussion with a nurse or pediatrician may be in order.
If the child is 4 months old and still not doing these things, a developmental delay may be suspected. Talking to the child's pediatrician or nurse as soon as possible should occur.
The developmental milestones for 6-month-olds includes knowing familiar faces from strangers; enjoying playing; rolling over; laughing; responding to their own name; talking by babbling and jabbering; passing things from one hand to another; sitting up without support; standing up and supporting body weight on their legs and may bounce up and down; and, begin to move forward and/or backward.
Warning signs include having a very stiff or very floppy body; not trying to connect with care givers; doing little to respond to sounds around them; not laughing or make squealing noises; not trying to talk or interact with people; or, having problems getting things to their mouth.
By the time a child is 1 year old, more developmental milestones are usually achieved. One-year-old children should be able to pull themselves up and stand, they might cruise around holding on to furniture or they may be taking a few steps independently or even walking. At one, a child may seem shy or afraid of strangers; cooperate and help with getting dressed; play games like peek-a-boo or patty-cake; respond to simple verbal requests; use simple gestures like shaking the head "no" or waving bye-bye; try to say words including "mama" or "dada" or "uh-oh"; drink from a cup; hand you a book to read to them; and, look and point at the right picture when named.
Warning signs include not crawling, not standing, not trying to move, not showing interest in playing games, not saying simple words like "mama" and "dada", not pointing to things or losing skills they once had.
By age 2, developmental milestones continue to accumulate. A 2-year-old should be able to copy others; name body parts; speak in two- to four-word sentences; repeat words heard in conversation; point to things in a book; begin to sort colors and shapes; build towers of four or more blocks; follow two-step instructions like "pick up your shoes and put them in the closet"; stand on tip toes; kick a ball; begin to run, climb up and down furniture without help; climb up and down stairs holding on; or, draw or copy straight lines and circles.
A child with developmental delays will not be able to speak in two-word sentences like "drink milk"; may not know what to do with objects like a brush, a fork, a spoon, a phone; they don't copy actions and words; don't follow simple instructions; don't walk steady; or, seem to lose skills they once had. If you notice any of these problems in a 2-year-old, the parent or caregiver should speak to the child's doctor or nurse.
Children ages 3, 4 or 5 years with developmental disabilities might drool or have unclear speech; they don't speak in full sentences, fall down frequently; are hard to potty train; can't climb stairs; don't make eye contact; don't want to play with others; don't play make-believe; cannot jump in place; can't give their first and last name; don't draw pictures or scribble; don't talk about daily activities; can't brush teeth, dry hands or get dressed and undressed without help; or, lose skills they once had mastered.
For more information about developmental milestones and developmental delays, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website at www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/developmentaldisabilities/facts.html and talk with your health care provider or pediatrician.
When you or someone you know is struggling with problems related to emotional wellness or developmental delays, Prestera Center can help. Prestera Center offers rapid intake and effective treatment. High quality behavioral health services are available to people of all ages: children, adolescents, adults, seniors and families. Individuals and families get better with the right kind of care. A variety of services are available that promote wellness and recovery, helping people achieve their full potential.
Prestera Center offers Putnam County residents access to effective professional mental health and addictions treatment services in Winfield and Hurricane. Offices in Winfield are located at 3389 Winfield Road, Suite 8, on the grounds of the Courthouse Complex (304-586-0670). Offices in Hurricane are called "Hopewell" and are located at 3772 Teays Valley Road (304-757-8475). The Hopewell offices specialize in serving adults with insurance in need of addiction treatment and mental health problems like grief, depression and anxiety or more severe mental health problems. Both offices are accepting new clients and scheduling appointments. Walk-ins are also welcome Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. at the Winfield location.
Kim Miller is the director of Corporate Development at Prestera. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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