July - September 2010 Edition: Naples Health

What to expect when Because they are individuals, children will develop at their own speeds. Still, there are some general guidelines parents can and should watch for. According to Hand, infants should be rolling from front to back and back to front by the age of four to six months and sitting on their own by about six months. Crawling starts anywhere from eight to 11 months, and walking typically begins right around the age of one year. “A lot of parents carry their kids so much that they are not moving as much as they should,” she notes. “So I will do exercises with them to facilitate strength in their legs and trunk. I’ll get them used to standing.” A year is when speech—a few words beyond “mama” and “dada”—usually starts as well. Youngsters should also be imitating actions, responding when called and cooperating in dressing. The therapists use standardized assessments to gauge children’s development, but Dr. Robert O'Leary D.O., FAAPMR BOARD CERTIFIED Pain Medicine Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

adjustments are made for those born prematurely, until the age of two. At that magical age, development seems to go through an accelerated spurt. “A two-year-old should have a vocabulary of at least 50 words and start putting together simple sentences.” ***** “With a two-year-old, we want them to have a vocabulary of at least 50 single words,” says Rachel Micke, a speech therapist, the third part of the therapy approach. “And they should start putting two words or more together in simple sentences. We do a lot with them that

looks like play therapy, but it’s really giving them opportunities to use their verbal abilities.” If a child can’t verbalize for some reason, Micke works on teaching them simple signs. “We want to show them the benefits of a communication system,” she explains. That was, in fact, how the therapist first got interested in her field. As a teenager, she became captivated by sign language. Becoming a speech thera- pist allowed her to combine that interest with her strong desire to help others. Taylor looks for other signs that develop- ment is occurring as it should. By the age of two, she says, a child should be able to engage in a simple task—for example, stacking a number of blocks. “They should also use their arms sym- metrically,” she adds, “use a spoon, start scribbling and have depth perception enough to know stairs are consecutive.” To help youngsters who are lagging behind, therapists rely on play. That is, after all, how children learn about their

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Naples Health | JULY-SEPTEMBER 2010

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