Category — Introduction


Many parents have told us that raising a child is like going on a journey with that child. There are many steps along the way as development happens. Some of these steps can be predicted and some cannot. Like a road, child development can take many twists and turns. It can bring parents surprises and joys, as well as frustrations and disappointments.

When parents are concerned about their child’s development and whether he or she is progressing as they believe it should, their journey with that child can be difficult and challenging. Sometimes children are not progressing as they should because of an identified developmental problem or disability. For other children, a disability may be very difficult to identify early in life even though it may be suspected because of a delay in development or behaviours a caregiver notices. Some young children are at higher risk for developmental problems. They may be progressing well, but their parents need to keep track of their development. Many of these children will continue to do well. Some will have learning problems or other developmental concerns. These concerns need to be identified as early as possible so the child may be referred for early developmental support in order to reach his or her potential.

Parents have told us that it can be very difficult to address their fears and worries that their child may have developmental challenges or a disability. It is hard to accept that your child may need extra help in achieving the developmental milestones compared with their brothers and sisters, or children of the same age. Parents have told us that they need information and support to help them understand their child’s needs better and to help other family members and friends understand as well. Parents want to know that they are not alone and that there are many other parents and service providers that are available to help them in this journey.

We know from recent research in brain science, from early childhood intervention literature, and from family stories that detecting developmental problems in young children early and support for the right interventions can make a very positive difference for children, their families and for society at large. Children thrive with the right kind of support and their families can address challenges as they come and manage family life with joy. Society benefits because early childhood intervention money in the long run. Less intensive and expensive interventions are needed when a child’s need are identified early and get the help they need in a timely way.

In this module, you will find help for parents, including information that may reduce unnecessary frustrations and concerns and lead them to resources that help them and their children.

During your journey as a parent you may go through many steps to learn more about your child’s development, why he or she is not progressing as it should, and what you can do about it. Every journey is unique—as unique as you and your child and family are.

Here are common steps that many parents have taken in this journey of discovery. You may pass through some or all of them.

This long road could (Fig. 1) resemble the long journey you are about to embark upon:

path through the forest

Figure 1. A long road

At times, your journey will involve smooth sailing. At other times it will not be easy.

It may involve tears, anger and moments of doubt. But the journey is worth taking.

The picture above does show a somewhat bumpy road, but the road leads somewhere, and it is surrounded by trees and greenery. The tree branches, on both sides sometimes interlock, and we see that as arms that are protecting those traveling on this road, or at least offering them shelter, at least temporarily. The arms could be your family (nuclear or extended), your friends, or your soon-to-be community partners. We hope that this course is one of the branches on this tree, offering you shelter and support.

There will be many stops along this road. Some points you will enjoy, others you may not. It is important to note:

  • You may not have to stop at each junction;
  • You may spend a long time at one junction and a very short time at another;
  • Some junctions will require your entire family to be present, others won’t;
  • Some junctions will have a lot to offer you and your family, others will only offer you one or two services.

It will be up to you to decide which junctions you would like to stop at, and how much time you would like to spend at each one.

It is our intention that this course will help guide you towards the right decisions you will need to make, that are right for yourself and for your family.


Figure 2. On a journey

The stops you make along your journey (Fig. 2) can be seen as steps towards reaching some of the goals that you have set for yourself, your child with special needs, your other children, and your entire family. The following is a list of some of the steps that you are likely to take.

April 3, 2012   No Comments