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Watch for 'Red flags' in child's development


January 10, 2013
Q. Our 21-month-old daughter does not respond to her name and when we tell her “no,” she doesn’t stop what she is doing. Is it OK to take a “wait and see” approach or should we be concerned?

A. Parents often worry about behaviors that are part of typical development, but some behaviors are “red flags,” indicating the need for a closer look.

Always share your concerns with your child’s doctor.

For more information about what milestones to watch for as your child grows, visit cdc.gov/actearly”cdc.gov/actear

ly or the American Academy of Pediatrics ataap.org.

Q. Our 6-year-old son’s behavior has become unmanageable. He bites, hits us and his sister, he is defiant and yesterday he hit another child in his kindergarten class. What can we do?

A. Often, behavior changes are the result of learning or developmental struggles that overwhelm a child’s ability to cope. The way we respond to undesirable behavior also affects how likely it is to be repeated.

A behavior analyst or child psychologist can help families and teachers get to the “why” of problematic behavior and develop effective strategies to decrease these issues.

Q. How can I tell if my child has an autism spectrum disorder?

A. Experts look for three core areas of impairment: delayed communication, impaired social interactions and restricted or repetitive patterns of behavior.

Children with autism have trouble communicating, playing appropriately and engaging with other people.

For an excellent “video glossary” see autismspeaks.org.

Q. Our daughter is really struggling with reading and writes a lot of her letters and numbers backward. Could she have a learning disability?

A. It is possible your daughter has a learning disability, such as dyslexia, although specialized testing is needed to determine this disorder. Dyslexia affects the ability to interpret language. It is not a vision problem, although it affects one’s ability to recognize written words or separate sounds that make up words.

It often leads to challenges in writing numbers and letters and in rhyming tasks. Dyslexia does not affect overall intelligence and individuals with dyslexia may even have higher-than-average intelligence.

The John A. and Marlene L. Boll Center for Human Development, at the Neighborhood Club Recreation and Wellness Center in the City of Grosse Pointe, offers diagnostic and therapeutic services for a wide range of childhood topics such as learning or developmental concerns; toileting or feeding issues, social skills training and general behavior management. The Boll Center for Human Development also provides access to other pediatric specialists such as speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists and physical therapists.

Warner is director, Center for Human Development, Beaumont Children’s Hospital and a licensed psychologist. She can be reached at (248) 691-4774. Visit Beaumont Children’s Hospital website at beau

mont, edu/hope.

E-mail questions to mailto:info@familycen

terweb.org.

The Family Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community organization that depends on donations. To volunteer or contribute, visit familycenterweb.org, or all (313) 432-3832.

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