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  Last Updated on 07/13/2018

Child Growth & Development



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  Developmental Delay




 Mother and toddler


Featured Resources


First Signs is dedicated to the early identification and intervention of children with developmental delays and disorders.


Developmental Delay Resources (DDR) - A nonprofit organization dedicated to meeting the needs of those working with children who have developmental delays in sensory motor, language, social, and emotional areas.



Autistic Spectrum Disorders: Discovering Michael - Michael was one of the most beautiful babies that we had ever seen. We were sure that God had been looking down on us on the day that he was born. He had spared his life.


New Online Pregnancy/New Parent Support Group Starts in the UK - Practical parenting advice and tips for parents and their families. Includes an alphabetical listing of potential baby names with the definition/meaning and country of origin.


Aggressive Treatment Helps Babies of Diabetics - Women who develop diabetes during pregnancy give birth to healthier babies if they are aggressively treated, concludes a large new study that helps bolster the case for testing all pregnant women for this condition.


Generation of Meth Babies - Deep in America's heartland, hidden among the river towns and rolling farmland, lies a heartbreaking epidemic, CBS News Correspondent Kelly Cobiella reports. There is a generation of children being born to Methamphetamine-addicted mothers.


Featured Website: About Babies, Inc. - Unique solutions designed to make pregnancy and motherhood more comfortable, including the Prenatal Cradle (providing abdominal support and easing back pain); V-2 Supporter (for vulvar varicosities, perineal swelling, prolapsed uterus); and Best Press (supports C-section incision site during coughing, deep breathing, activity). Visit their website or call 1-800-383-3068 for more information.


Autism Linked to Birth Problems - Autism is linked to problems at birth, new data show. Around the age of 2 years, a child's brain undergoes explosive growth. That's when the mysterious combination of genes and environment that causes autism seems to hit with tragic force.


The Thyroid Gland - There are 90 known compounds that can disrupt thyroid hormone production and 12 different ways it can be disrupted. Even a small disruption in a mother’s hormone level at critical stages in brain development can have devastating effects. Children of mothers with low circulating thyroid hormone have been shown to have trouble with motor coordination, balance and other psychomotor skills. ADHD has been linked to hypothyroidal mothers as well as a higher than average incidence of difficulties with special relations, perception, memory and language.


National WIC Association Logo

NWA's Mission:  Provide leadership in promoting quality nutrition services; advocating for services for all eligible women, infants and children; and assuring sound, responsive management of Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). 




Click here for information related to School nutrition and nutrition for older children.


What Should Preschoolers Drink? Milk, Water Recommended - Children, especially those of preschool age, should consume two cups of milk every day, according to KidsHealth.org. This article recommends discouraging children from drinking sugary, calorie-dense drinks as well as those containing caffeine because caffeine's effects can be seen earlier in small children.


Breastfeeding Your Child Effectively: Introduction to Breastfeeding - In almost all cases, breast milk is the most perfect food for your baby. It contains easily digestible proteins, many factors that support your new baby's immature immune system, and other factors that aid in digestion. It is also low in cost and requires no preparation. Breast fed babies are also less likely to have colic, upper respiratory infections, ear infections, constipation, asthma or allergies.

Introducing Solid Foods - At four months, your baby's diet should consist of breast milk and/or formula (with added vitamins or iron if your pediatrician recommends it), but by four to six months you can begin adding solid foods.

Feeding Baby Safely: Facts, Fads and Fallacies - A Report by The American Council on Science and Health; Both commercial and homemade baby foods can be safe and nutritious if used appropriately. To provide their infants with a healthful diet, parents need to choose foods wisely, introduce them correctly, and follow appropriate safety precautions.


After the Bottle: Preventing Food Allergies - Preventing food allergies may be possible, especially if your child is at high risk of having a food allergy, including already having an allergy to another food or formula, having other family members with food allergies, or having other 'allergic' type conditions or family members with these conditions, such as eczema, allergic rhinitis (hayfever) and/or asthma.


Featured Website: Way to Go! Weight to Grow! Healthy Weight in Preschool Children - Because children's behaviors and life attitudes are primarily formed in their preschool years, it’s critical to provide adults interacting with preschoolers, as well as the children themselves, with accurate health information, prevention and intervention strategies focused on healthy weight.


 Resources & Articles Related to Child Growth & Development


Developmental Milestones from Birth - Three Years Old


Click here for a list of Childhood Developmental Screening Tools.


Virtual Encyclopedia of Early Childhood Development - This Encyclopedia covers 33 topics related to the psychosocial development of the child, from conception to the age of five. For each topic, a series of articles written by internationally renowned experts presents the most up-to-date scientific knowledge and addresses three questions: How important is it? What do we know? What can be done? Each topic is organized with key messages geared for parents and service providers. A summary of findings is provided with the complete articles also available.


Have a Ball! A Toolkit for Physical Activity and the Early Years
A variety of materials in a handy, ready-to-go 'briefcase' for promoting and delivering physical activity opportunities for young children. The Toolkit includes a binder of information, a copy of Moving and Growing: Ages Two, Three and Four, a copy of the Rainbow Fun resource on CD, the Chief Medical Officer of Health Report: Healthy Weights, Healthy Lives, Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating: Focus on Preschoolers, a beach ball to (must we say it)…get the ball rolling, and other complementary materials.
Download the binder contents available in PDF.

- What the Research Says (PDF 535KB)
- Resource Selection Critera (164KB)
- Resources (PDF 344KB)
- Great Ideas (PDF 3.5 MB)
- Have a Ball with a Ball ! (88.6KB)
- Fact sheets - Professionals (PDF 1.1 MB)
- Fact sheets - Parents (PDF 316KB)


PEDS: Developmental Milestones Measurements For Children 0-8 Years - A new measure called PEDS:Developmental Milestones (PEDS:DM) for children 0 - 8 years is now available for parents and professionals. The Screening Level version is in wide use by pediatricians but the PEDS:DM also has an Assessment Level version helpful for child-find, early intervention programs, and NICU follow-up.


AAP: Newborn Screening Technology: Proceed With Caution (PDF) - The American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG) recommends a significant expansion in the number of conditions targeted by newborn screening (NBS) programs. In this commentary we advocate a more cautious approach.


New Research on Babies Yields Clues for Later Learning - Armed with some new information, pediatricians are starting to change the way they evaluate their youngest patients. In addition to tracking physical development, they are now focusing much more deeply on emotional advancement. A baby who fails to meet certain key "emotional milestones" may have trouble learning to speak, read and, later, do well in school. By reading emotional responses, doctors have begun to discover ways to tell if a baby as young as 3 months is showing early signs of possible psychological disorders, including depression, anxiety, learning disabilities and perhaps autism. "Instead of just asking if they're crawling or sitting, we're asking more questions about how they share their world with their caregivers," says Dr. Chet Johnson. "Do they point to things? When they see a new person, how do they react? How children do on social and emotional and language skills are better predictors of success in adulthood than motor skills are."


Summer's Great For Potty Training - For youngsters who are physically and psychologically ready for toilet training, summer may be an ideal time to begin, according to a statement on the topic from the University of Michigan Health System.


Facts About Young Children With Challenging Behavior (PDF)


Learn The Signs. Act Early. Health Care Professional Downloads & Parent Downloads - It's time to change how we view a child's growth. Do you know all the ways you should measure your child’s growth? The good news is, the earlier a delay is recognized the more you can do to help your child reach her full potential.


Autism Spectrum Disorders (Pervasive Developmental Disorders) - Describes symptoms, causes, and treatments, with information on getting help and coping.

NINDS Pervasive Developmental Disorders Information Page - Includes: What are Pervasive Developmental Disorders? Is there any treatment? What is the prognosis? What research is being done? Organizations, Related NINDS Publications and Information, and Publicaciones en Español.


Enlisting Parents in the Race to Detect Autism Early Enough to Make a Difference - Who better to spot autism than parents? Subtle changes in behavior may be more obvious to a mother or father who sees a child daily than to a pediatrician who has 50 other patients.


Child Development: Developmental Milestones Birth to 5 - Find important information on what to look for in your child’s development. Sections include information on Infants (0-1 year old), Toddlers (1-2 years old), Toddlers (2-3 years old, and preschoolers (3-5 years old).

Healthy Start, Grow Smart Series - download publications containing tips, insight, resources and more for each month of your child's first year: Newborn through 12 months.


Parenting: The First, Second and Third Years (PDF files)


For Parents of Preemies: Commonly Asked Questions - click here.


Has Your Child Met His Milestones? - Although no two children develop at the same rate, most children should be able to do certain things at certain ages. Talk with your pediatrician during your next office visit if you note major differences between your child's development and his appropriate age milestones. Here are some general guidelines for judging if your child is developing at a healthy pace.


starFeatured Website: Michigan Genetics Resource Centerstar

Some birth defects can be prevented. For example, spina bifida is a neural tube defect caused by incomplete development of the spinal cord. Neural tube defects can be prevented by taking enough folic acid before and during the first month of pregnancy. For more information about ways to prevent certain birth defects click here (PDF) to view the Preventing Birth Defects Brochure. If you would like to order a copy of this pamphlet click here.


Prolonged Infant Crying: Sign of Trouble? - A handful of studies have shown that persistent crying - longer than 3 months - may be related to mental and behavioral problems as children get older. In a recent study, children who still had unexplained, persistent crying beyond 6 months tended to be hyperactive when they reached 8-10 years old.


Tools for Early Identification and Intervention (0-5 years) - Includes: Child Management Principles with Young Children 0-5, Rule Out Model for the Early Identification and Treatment of Children with Developmental Disabilities, Glossary of Terms, Early Identification of Developmental Concern Form, Parent Developmental Questionnaire - PDQ, Parent Developmental Questionnaire - PDQ in Spanish, Your Child's Developmental, Behavioral & Medical History, Child's Attainment of Developmental Milestones Rating Scale, The Greenspan Functional Emotional Assessment Scale, The Greenspan Functional Developmental Scale, Initial Assessment Description and Observation of Child, Observation of Parent - Child interaction, Greenspan Infant/Child Regulatory Patterns Survey, Sensory Modulation Training, The "Greenspan" Floor Time Model, Parent's Guide For Setting up a Program of Floor Time Volunteers, PowerPoint Presentation: The "Greenspan" Floor Time Model, and Links.


The Thyroid Gland - There are 90 known compounds that can disrupt thyroid hormone production and 12 different ways it can be disrupted. Even a small disruption in a mother’s hormone level at critical stages in brain development can have devastating effects. Children of mothers with low circulating thyroid hormone have been shown to have trouble with motor coordination, balance and other psychomotor skills. ADHD has been linked to hypothyroidal mothers as well as a higher than average incidence of difficulties with special relations, perception, memory and language.


Download the report: "A Look at Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Screening Tools for Head Start and Early Head Start" (PDF; 18 pages) by Philip H. Printz, Amy Borg, and Mary Ann Demaree, Center for Children and Families Education Development Center, Inc. Excerpt: Head Start Performance Standards require that a specific social, emotional, and behavioral screening be administered for Head Start and Early Head Start children within 45 days of enrollment. We are often asked by Head Start and Early Head Start programs for assistance in locating social, emotional, and behavioral screening tools. This document seeks to clarify these questions regarding this requirement, and to provide guidance for choosing a specific screening tool.


Learn about the ASQ - The ASQ (or Ages & Stages Questionnaire) is a tool used to screen infants and young children for developmental delays.


The Bzoch-League Receptive-Expressive-Language Test (REEL-2), 2nd. Ed.

The REEL-2 is a scale designed for infants and toddlers up to 3 years of age. It measures and analyzes emergent language for intervention planning. Results are obtained from a parent interview and are given in terms of an Expressive Language Age, A Receptive Language Age, and a Combined Language Age. Available through Pro Ed, Inc. 8700 Shoal Creek Boulevard, Austin, Texas 78757-6897; (800) 897-3202 or on the web at http://www.proedinc.com.

The Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills (ABLLS)
An invaluable resource, the ABLLS manual contains an actual assessment (protocol) that identifies a young learner’s skills and deficits. The initial scoring allows you to systematically determine intervention priorities and establish an individualized curriculum for each child. The second part of this two part package contains the ABLLS Scoring Instructions and IEP Development Guide. Once the assessment is complete, it can be used to outline an IEP and develop a baseline for working with children at their skill level. *Note that this is a 2 booklet set that comes with one protocol already included. Price: 59.95 USD; Soft Cover, 2 Volume Set by James W. Partington, PhD and Mark L. Sundberg, PhD. Ordering info can be found at http://www.difflearn.com.


In Harm’s Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development - The intersection between environmental chemicals and child development is a new area of public health science. It is only in the past few years that we have begun to grasp the potential health effects of even slight disturbances in child development.


Free Online Program for Newborn Screening Education

The Michigan Newborn Screening Program is pleased to offer this free course to help individuals better understand and carry out their role with the newborn screening program.  There are nine modules in this course.  Go to http://www.mihealth.org/.  Select the "Newborn Screening" course.  Set up a free account with Michigan Virtual University then follow the directions to log in and take the course.  Contact Denise Pleger with any questions about the course at 517-335-8588 or plegerd@michigan.gov.


Bridges4Kids/Early On Review: Tiny Ears Compilation CD


Brain Child: Finding the Key - By the time we drop them into the kindergarten pool, some of our children start swimming through society like little Olympians. Others dog paddle or tread water. They will learn in due time. Others just start sinking.


Brain Child: Science Findings on Brain Development - An infant is staring at his mother's versatile face, not a trace of understanding in his still-focusing eyes. And yet behind that wide-eyed gaze and soft cap of bone, an electrical storm is taking place.


Brain Child: Universal Kindergarten Offered in Many States - One 4-year-old entered Mandy Deal's pre-kindergarten class this school year not able to name different colors or shapes and not knowing her own last name. Now the child can do all those things, plus write her first and last name and count to 20.


Brain Child: Public Policy is a Child's Third Parent - Parents are every baby's first teachers.


Brain Child: Financing Early Childhood Education - Tasha Mora grew up amid nightly gunshots, drug deals and filth. The 24-year-old mother of four says a public investment in her early childhood got her out of her Austin, Texas, ghetto and into a kid-friendly suburb with her husband and children.


Brain Child: Early Head Start Gives Extra-early Boost to Toddlers - Amy Lee looks like she is watching her youngest son play. But really, she is watching him develop his mind. He is 2 years, 8 months old.


Brain Child: Teachers Toting New Brain Research into Schools - New brain research prompted elementary school principal Kathy Whitmire to scratch the word "unreachable" from her vocabulary.


Brain Child: Roundup of Early Childhood Resources - All over the country, organizations, agencies, government entities, institutes, community leaders and parents are working to make life better for young children and their families. Armed with the latest research on brain development, these programs and efforts are all geared to maximize children's potential.


Brain Child: Early Education a Jumpstart For Life - If you can understand the words in this story, you can thank your parents for spending time singing and talking to you when you were in the womb. Then, if they continued to talk to you after you were born, introduced you to challenging problems and spent a great deal of time reading to you until you were at least 3, you developed learning skills that stayed with you for the rest of your life.


Brain Child: Early Brain Development Key for Future - Advocates for building better brains in children are doing nothing less than trying to start a revolution.


Brain Child: Barriers to Early Childhood Education - Educators and child development experts know what needs to be done to get kids ready to learn. They know that money spent trying to help kids catch up with their peers in fourth, eighth or 12th grade would be better spent in the first few years of life.


Brain Child: A Primer for Developing Baby's Brain - It's child's play, really. Playing right with your baby in the first three years of life can have a profound influence on the kind of child and adult he or she becomes. Here's why. When a baby is born, the brain cells begin making trillions of connections with each other as it starts to experience its environment.


Newborn Screening Tests - Newborn screening is the practice of testing every newborn for certain harmful or potentially fatal disorders that are not otherwise apparent at birth. Many of these are metabolic disorders, often called "inborn errors of metabolism," which interfere with the body's use of nutrients to maintain healthy tissues and produce energy. Other disorders that may be detected through screening include problems with hormones, vitamin levels, or the blood.


How is your child developing?  Join the Ages & Stages program. There is no cost to join and you will learn tons about your child. Also, gets some great parenting tips and ideas for FUN activities.  Click to download a PDF with more information and a sign up sheet. (Michigan Only)


Finding Quality Services for You and Your Child (PDF Brochure; page 1 is in English; page 2 is in Spanish) - "Whether you are looking for child care, early childcare education programs, healthcare, parent education, or family support, quality is difficult to define, because quality standards differ by service and vary based on your own personal values." This brochure is from Connect For Kids of Kent County.

Early Childhood Development: Economic Development with a High Public Return


New Book for Preschoolers/Toddlers: "Small Steps Forward: Using Games and Activities to Help Your Pre-School Child with Special Needs" - click here for more information.


Take the Zero to Three Brain Quiz - Examples: True or False? Babies are born with the ability to learn all the languages in the world.  True or False? A human baby's brain has the greatest density of brain cells connectors (synapses) by age 3.  Find the answers to these and other questions in this Brain Quiz brought to you by Zero To Three.


HIPPY Logo Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY)  - A parent involvement, school readiness program that helps parents prepare their 3 to 5 year old children for success in school and beyond.


The Institutes For The Achievement of Human Potential: www.iahp.org - Serving children by teaching parents how to enhance the development of their children based upon proven brain research and incredible results with both well and brain-damaged children.


Understanding Your Baby's Cries - Knowing what to do when your baby fusses and learning how to understand why he or she is upset is often a very difficult job for new parents. But there is help.


Read the Detroit News article "Time May Lessen Brain Woes in Very Small Premature Babies"


Teenage Mutant Ninja Cortex - An article in the Oct. 2002 issue of the journal "Brain and Cognition" may offer a solution to one of mankind's last unsolved mysteries: teen angst. [source]


Series on Child Development and Play

Part 1: Development Experts Say Children Suffer Due to Lack of Unstructured Fun

Part 2: Creative Play Makes Better Problem-solvers

Part 3: All These Groups Work to Enhance Children's Play


 Research Websites


Terrible Twos and Hypothesis Testing - The “terrible twos” can be a very difficult time for parents and caregivers. Children at this age not only do things adults don’t want them to do, but also do things because their caregivers don’t want them to.


Brain Child: Science Findings on Brain Development - An infant is staring at his mother's versatile face, not a trace of understanding in his still-focusing eyes. And yet behind that wide-eyed gaze and soft cap of bone, an electrical storm is taking place.


Research Websites focusing on child development and learning
Reading Research at the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development: http://www.nichd.nih.gov/reading.htm

Child Development and Behavior: http://www.nichd.nih.gov/about/crmc/cdb/cdb.htm
Environmental Research
National Children’s Study (effects of the environment on child health and development): http://nationalchildrensstudy.gov/




Homemade Play-Dough Recipe from Nick Jr.


Featured Website: Kids Coins - Learn and Play the Kids Coins Way! Children's early experiences largely determine the way they will learn, think and behave for the rest of their lives. For ages 3 and up.


Keeping Your Toddler Safe Outdoors - Kids love to romp and play outside, especially in the summer months. While the great outdoors can be great fun, there are some hazards to avoid--lead in garden soil, various stinging and disease carrying insects, and poisonous plants.


Balltown - A great, interactive early childhood education tool for your little ones! Apart from being a charming and highly entertaining television and video series, BALLTOWN has a far more serious and valuable goal to teach children important lessons, universal life skills and values and also serve as an important teaching guide for parents and teachers.


Fisher-Price Toy Finder: Fisher-Price® has developed a partnership with experts from the Let’s Play! Project, a federally funded program that supports family play experiences for children with special needs. For more information, click here. These recommendations emphasize play stages—not ages—because all children develop at different rates. Site also has a toy finder for typically developing children at http://www.fisher-price.com/us/toys/toysbyage/default.asp?agegrade=.


Developmental Activities: Connect For Kids of Kent County has put together some great informational sheets containing developmental activities that parents or caregivers can do with children to help them "connect for success." Activities are beautifully illustrated and are organized by age beginning with 4-6 months and continuing through 5 years. These downloadable activity sheets are available at http://www.playsmartfromthestart.com/grow/.


Bright Start Therapeutics - Our products greatly benefit people who work with individuals with learning disabilities including Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Parents of Children with Learning Disabilities, Special Education Teachers, Speech Pathologists, and Adapted Physical Educators.


Common Chemicals Found in Toys, Plastics Raise Alarm - Chemicals called phthalates are in everything from toys and vinyl flooring to food packaging and pharmaceutical products. They make plastics more flexible, nail polish more spreadable and creams and lotions smoother.


Bridges4Kids/Early On Review: The Complete Book of Activities, Games, Stories, Props, Recipes, and Dances for Young Children - Bursting with new selections and old favorites, each of the 600 activities, stories, games, recipes, props, and dances will enhance any preschool curriculum.


Collection of Games, Experiments, Projects and Diversions For Parents & Teachers


PLAY THERAPY: Special needs kids have place to grow


Computing With Kids: Top Edutainment Titles Combine Learning, Fun - After testing hundreds of new titles this year, here's our "Best Picks for the Holidays" in the category of children's "edutainment" titles. Edutainment software combines entertainment and learning.





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