Child Development and Public Health
The early years of a child's life are crucial for cognitive, social and emotional development. Therefore, it is important that we take every step necessary to ensure that children grow up in environments where their social, emotional and educational needs are met.
Cost to society of less than optimal development are enormous and far-reaching. Children who grow up in environments where their developmental needs are not met are at an increased risk for compromised health and safety, and learning and developmental delays. Failure to invest time and resources during children’s early years may have long term effects on the foster care, health care, and education systems. Therefore, it is in the public's interest to ensure that children develop in safe, loving, and secure environments.
What is Child Development?
Children grow, develop, and learn throughout their lives from birth and infancy to adulthood. A child’s development can be measured through social, physical, and cognitive developmental milestones. If children fail to develop properly they may be unable to reach their full potential. However, healthcare professionals and parents can work together as partners to help children grow up healthy and strong.
Why be concerned if a baby shows signs of developmental delay? Won’t she just grow out of it?
Developmental delays can have future negative effects on your child, which may lead to speech and language difficulties, behavioral problems and learning problems.
How can I prevent developmental delay in my baby?
There isn’t one “right way” to prevent developmental delay. Consult a pediatrician for specific activities for your child. Some activities such as singing and reading to your child help to stimulate cognition and recognition of a mother’s voice by her child.
What is early childhood intervention?
The intent of early child intervention is to lay a foundation, in conjunction with the family, to support infants as they grow and mature into healthy individuals. Healthy means the best possible outcome the physical, mental, and social functioning and well-being of an individual.
I have concerns that my child could have a developmental delay. Whom do I contact to get my child a developmental assessment in my state?
Consult your pediatrician if you have concerns about your child’s development. An additional resource, the National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center, lists early intervention programs by state. It is important to remember, however, that there is a range of what is considered normal development. Some babies may accomplish certain tasks or reach a specific developmental milestone sooner or later than others.