Early Childhood Intervention: Module One – Typical and Atypical Development

How Development in Early Years Influences Development in the Elementary Years

Atypical early child development in the social and/or emotional arenas1 is likely to be also present as the child grows older. If not effectively addressed, social and emotional difficulties will turn into more serious behaviors. Atypical behaviors may signal caregivers about issues that need immediate attention and that are not part of a phase the child will “come out of ” on his or her own.

  • Some of the concerns about atypical social and emotional behaviours evolving into serious issues in the middle/adolescent school years include: A child not growing emotionally at par with other children his age, or “stunted emotional growth”;
  • A child showing cruelty to others and/or to animals;
  • A child having extremely low self-esteem;
  • A child being dependent on others to feel good about self;
  • A child at higher risk for suicide attempts;
  • A child being  unsafe about personal and intimate relationships (i.e., promiscuity);
  • A child engaging in risky, unsafe and/or criminal behaviors, including drug and alcohol use; truancy, and/or dropping out of school.

Children who continue to display atypical social and emotional skills beyond the early childhood years may end up being diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder.

1 see References

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