Children develop skills as they grow—they roll over, smile, babble, begin to crawl, pull themselves up, learn a word or two, begin to walk, begin to talk. In fact, most children follow a definite pattern as they mature.
Some children walk earlier than others and some talk sooner than others, but in general, they follow a similar course of development. There are, however, some exceptions. Some children develop very late and some do not follow a common pattern. While some children may “catch up,” others may suffer from a developmental delay or even a disability. The earlier such delays and disabilities are recognized, the sooner these children, their families, and their caregivers can get help. Child care providers, especially, are in a unique position to recognize a problem or delay because they have the opportunity to observe many children and to experience the full range of child development. Thus, it is important that they know about the resources available to assist them in helping children and their families.