The early years of a child’s life are very important for his or her health and development. Healthy development means that children of all abilities, including those with special health care needs, are able to grow up where their social, emotional and educational needs are met. Every child grows and develops differently, doing things at their own pace.
Watch Me Grow is NH’s developmental screening, monitoring, information, and referral system. Composed of a statewide partnership of organizations and agencies, WMG is designed to support the early identification of children who may need developmental supports and services. It is a system, not a stand-alone program that builds on existing resources in the state. This means agencies and programs that support young children work together to support families. Watch Me Grow is available to all children, including families who simply want to learn more about their child’s development.
Children generally reach certain milestones in their life at roughly the same time. Understanding these gives you the chance to help your child develop new skills and reach their full potential.
Children reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, act, and move (crawling, walking, etc.). These are the four areas of development that are looked at through a developmental screening:
Motor – Motor development, also called physical development, means how young children move their bodies and hands. Learn more about motor development and when babies roll over, sit, crawl, stand and walk.
Social and Emotional – Social and emotional development includes the child’s experience, expression and management of their emotions, and the ability to establish positive and rewarding relationships with others.
Communication and Language – The first five years of life are a period of incredible growth in all areas of a child’s development. It’s a time of tremendous brain development that is very important for communication development. Babies begin communicating by crying, and then in a few months start babbling and imitating sounds. So much of a young child’s learning depends on having the ability to communicate with others, to begin to understand their world, to express their wishes and to ask those important questions about “why.”
Cognitive – Cognitive development is critical to a child’s growth. It describes how a child’s brain develops, and includes skills such as thinking, learning, exploring and problem solving. It also affects other areas of a child’s development, including language and social skills.
By visiting the CDC’s Developmental Milestones page you will find these major age milestone and what usually happens at that time.
Well-child visits allow your doctor to have regular contact with your child and keep track of his or her health and development. Your doctor might ask you some questions or talk and play with your child during an examination to see how he or she plays, learns, speaks, behaves, and moves. You can track your child’s milestones from age 2 months to 5 years with The CDC Milestone Tracker App an easy-to-use illustrated checklists that also gives tips for encouraging your child’s development. Share it with your child’s doctor or nurse at the next visit.
Completing a developmental screening can be both fun and educational. A screening can identify your child’s strengths or areas where your child may need encouragement or support, provide new activities to try with your child, and help you understand the skills your child may be learning at each new stage.
The Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) is a child development screener that allows you to check in on how your child is growing and learning.
Watch Me Grow NH offers two developmental questionnaires: Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ-3) and Ages and Stages Questionnaire: Social-Emotional (ASQ:SE-2), designed to help parents and caregivers follow and understand their child’s development.
ASQ for Parents: Your Quick-Guide to ASQ Screening
This quick-guide answers some of the most commonly asked questions about ASQ screening, including what screening is and why its important, how it works, and what you can expect after your child’s screening has been completed.
Available through Lending Library
ASQ -The Ages &Stages Questionnaires on a Home Visit (DVD)
ASQ-3 Scoring & Referral Ages & Stages Questionnaires A Parent- Completed Child Monitoring System (DVD)
ASQ:SE: 2 in Practice Ages & Stages Questionnaires : Social Emotional (DVD-Second Edition)
Screenings are offered through the Family Resource Centers located across the state.
Developmental Screening Podcast – NH Family Voices staff sits down with Dr. Nina Sand-Loud, Developmental Behavioral Pediatrician at Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and has a conversation about developmental screening, tools and questionnaires used, the role of parents, and the benefits it provides to growing children.
(Podcast Transcript –Developmental Screening)
Free Resource Materials – Click here to find downloadable tips sheets, Milestone materials and children’s books. If you would like hard copies contact NH Family Voices. We have them in English and Spanish.
Vroom is a set of tools and resources from the Bezos Family Foundation designed to inspire families to turn everyday moments into “brain building moments” by layering activities that are essential to healthy brain development onto existing routines. Vroom’s website offers a variety of tools to download for free, as well as a mobile app that provides easy access to daily “brain building” activities. Many resources are available in English and Spanish.