If you’re a homeowner, you know there is always something to work on. Some projects are big, some small. Some are in clear view while others are hidden away until normal wear and tear or too much pressure causes something to break (example: the recent toilet fiasco that occurred in my house!). It’s to be expected when you own a house.
Why do we not look at human growth and development in the same way? I know that might sound crazy but hear me out. Early developmental skills are like building a house. The foundation needs to be poured before the framing for the walls goes up, and the first-floor structure must be built before you can add a second floor. Also just like a house, not everything will go perfectly. Rain, lost permits, workers who become ill, and a host of other possibilities can delay construction. Similarly, there are a ton of milestones to be met in those early years – many of which build upon ones that must come before them – and it is nearly impossible to meet all of them on time!
Sometimes we see difficulties in the early months (difficulty with feeding, positioning difficulties, sleep difficulties, etc.), and others are not revealed until our children hit a roadblock on a particular skill (example: trouble with jumping with two feet, difficulty with reading/writing, etc.). Many life-long skills build on the fundamental development that occurs during the first few years in life.
Speech, physical and occupational therapists are like the building supervisor, house inspector, and general contractor. We can see the crack behind the spackle, we can see the “why” it is happening, and what other skills it might impact…and help repair and strengthen the weaker skills. You can’t build a second story on a home with a faulty foundation without the walls caving in on themselves.
Here’s an example: A third-grader has always done well in math, but struggles when word problems are introduced. The problem is the math grade, but the “crack behind the spackle” is actually reading comprehension, not math. The student in this example needs help with being able to make inferences and answer “wh” questions – a language issue, not a math issue. Increase the language skills and the math grade will improve (along with their Language Arts grade, most likely).
If you feel your child is struggling with a particular skill, feel free to reach out to our OTs, PTs or STs for a free consultation to determine if treatment can help. Let us be your developmental specialist to help your child meet and move through their developmental skills and stages 😊
Jessica Orlick, MS, CCC-SLP
Image Courtesy Pixabay/Title Added