Understanding Educational Milestones
Adopted children are often born under trying conditions, which can be exacerbated by stress for both the birth mother and the child, undernourishment and a lack of prenatal care. This can have a long-term impact and many adopted children have developmental delays, disabilities and disorders. Often these conditions aren’t apparent when the children are young (0-7 years ). So it’s important for adoptive families to be aware and take the necessary steps to intervene early.
Many times, doctors and teachers will believe that a child is reaching academic milestones and there is no cause for concern, but many adoptive families have experienced a different pattern. Our goal is to inform adoptive parents of possible red flags and the resources available to address these issues. Knowledge is power and we want to empower all adoptive families.
Learning differences can be hard to pinpoint, especially at a very young age. Most warning signs can be spotted through observing social/emotional development, cognitive development, language and communication and through movement and physical development. A few specific warning signs for potential learning issues during 0-5 years age range are delayed speech, pronunciation problems, difficulty learning new words or numbers or the alphabet, a short attention span, difficulty following directions, and poor grip of a crayon or pen. In older children, 6-13 years, challenges become more apparent. Some warning signs to look out for are difficulty with speech, problems with reading, writing, poor math skills, poor social skills, poor memory, unable to follow instructions, disruptivness or inattentive behavior. For more details, this CDC app describes milestones in detail by age.
Here is a basic guide to age-appropriate academic and pre-academic skills.
Understand that a rattle toy makes noise
Toddler knows to hold fingers up to express numbers.
Preschoolers can count to 20
Kindergartners draw/copy symmetrical shapes
Look/touch pictures in books
Name familiar pictures
Knows correct way to hold a book
Match letter sounds to letters
Read some sight words
Hold a pencil straight up and down in clenched fist.
Attempt to write from left to right by making scribbles
Try to write letters of the alphabet and copy words
Use paper/pencil for math problems
Estimate and round
Start reading or ask to be read to
Recognize about 200 sight words
Make the move from learning to read to reading to learn
Identify and articulate main ideas
Learn to hold a pencil correctly.
Use inventive spelling
Develop improved handwriting
Start to use the writing process, (writing, proofreading, correcting)
Basic Algebra with one unknown number
Work with fractions, percentages and proportions
Understand basic geometry
Use math language to convey thoughts and solutions
Summarize what has been read
Relate events in story to their own
Make inferences, draw conclusions
Write multi-paragraph essays
Sharpened grammar skills, using complex sentences
Adding to vocabulary
Different styles of writing