All parents know how important the first five years of a child’s life are. They’re incredible years of learning that shape children’s futures. Yet, every year 1.45 million children, all under the age of five, enter school with learning and health issues that put them far behind their peers and have a lasting, negative effect on their ability to meet their full potential.
As the leading provider of autism and early intervention services, Easter Seals know what’s possible when kids get the support they need – and also what happens when they don’t. Because of this, Easter Seals has created a new program called Make the First Five Count which encourages parents to be more aware of the social and developmental milestones their children should be reaching during the first five years of life. Some of these developmental milestones include:
Cognitive: Thinking skills: including learning, understanding, problem solving, reasoning, and remembering.
Social/Emotional: Interacting with others; having relationships with family, friends, and teachers, cooperating, and responding to the feelings of others.
If a child misses a milestone, or if something doesn’t feel quite right, notify your doctor — it might indicate a problem. The most important thing for parents is to follow their instincts and share their concerns with their pediatrician. Recognizing a problem in developmental milestones is the very first step to ensuring your child gets the services he or she needs early – at the time they can benefit the most. When kids get the right treatment and therapy early in life, they’re ready to learn alongside their peers and build lifelong skills. Known as early intervention services, these therapies work to strengthen a child’s physical, social, emotional and intellectual abilities well before kindergarten.
To show you how early intervention changes lives please check out Kyle’s story in the link below. Kyle is a first grader who was diagnosed with a form of autism at age 2; thanks to early intervention services through Easter Seals Kyle’s teachers say he may be able to live independently someday. You can view Kyle’s story by visiting the link below: http://www.westglen.com/online/makethefirstfivecount.html.
Learn more about the Make the First Five Count program by visiting www.makethefirstfivecount.org. Parents can also check out CVS Caremark’s All Kids Can Program which has assured the delivery of Easter Seals services to the lives of nearly 100,000 children with disabilities served by Easter Seals nationwide.