A parent needs to be very aware of the maturation levels of children in general and certainly of their own child's maturation. The milestones of development within the first three years of life are key reminders to parents of how their child is developing.
This should include sitting up, beginning to crawl, walking, talking and of course relating to their environment in a positive way. Before seeing a therapist about these issues, a parent should talk to their pediatrician if they are worried about any of these milestones.
Once a child begins kindergarten or Pre-1A, it's quite important for a parent to receive regular reports from the teachers re the progress of the child in areas of: socialization, play habits and of course any formal learning. Once reading starts this becomes most urgent.
If for any reason, behavior or the learning process of the child is being questioned, a good developmental psychologist should be consulted. Early identification of any fine or gross motor disabilities and of course speech and language is most essential. These areas can be nipped in the bud and truly make a difference for the child's future education.
During the early school years when children tend to bond with their friends, parents should be inviting children over and of course have their children visit so that the maturation continues in a positive frame. Any major behavioral issues in and out of school should be carefully watched and certainly if this is different from the mode, a therapist should be consulted.
Finally, any alarm bells brought up by school authorities such as possible learning differences, developmental issues etc. should not be swept under the rug but dealt within a positive framework as one would for any physical problem. Of course finding the right therapist is no different than finding the right Doctor for physical issues.
Joel S. Rosenshein, Ph.D.