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ideas for a toddler room with a child who show signs of developmental delays

  • 1.  ideas for a toddler room with a child who show signs of developmental delays

    Posted 03-18-2021 05:02 PM
    Hello, I have a teacher who asked for help with a child who is showing signs of developmental delays, the child will not be 2 until this summer. One of the biggest struggles is the child scoops up her food, gets out of her chair many times during the meal or will throw food.  The teacher feels if she let's the child up that the other children will get up too.  I am trying to help, the teacher does want the child to throw food and she does  want the child to get out of her child until everyone is done.  I am trying to work with this teacher and her co-teachers.  Can you direct me on some tips on Autism for young children or any other suggestions you can offer.

    Karen Kosoglov
    Carmel Clay Edu-Care Centers
    Carmel IN

  • 2.  RE: ideas for a toddler room with a child who show signs of developmental delays

    Posted 03-20-2021 08:57 AM
    It sounds like this child needs outside support.  You might lead her family towards Early Intervention services as they would have the clinicians to help her.  The sooner this happens the better and a referral now could give her 2 years of services, since they end at 3.  EI clinicians can also give you and the teachers support about what might be helpful in the classroom.  I would be sure to steer clear of diagnosing this child yourself and mentioning any suspected diagnosis to teachers and parents.

    Aren Stone
    Child Development Specialist
    The Early Years Project
    Cambridge, MA

  • 3.  RE: ideas for a toddler room with a child who show signs of developmental delays

    Posted 03-20-2021 11:44 AM
    I agree with getting outside support, and getting services as soon as possible if needed. If you haven't already, talk with the family about how the child eats at mealtimes at home. Perhaps the adults have the child on their lap at mealtimes and feeds the child a little at a time with a spoon.

    Peggy Ashbrook
    Early childhood science teacher
    Alexandria, VA
    NSTA The Early Years columnist, Science and Children
    Early Years blogger,
    Author: Science Learning in the Early Years, and
    Science Is Simple

  • 4.  RE: ideas for a toddler room with a child who show signs of developmental delays

    Posted 03-20-2021 09:23 PM
    Seconding what Aren said here, I don't think you need to worry about a diagnosis, but if you recognize that there is something "out-of-sync" with this child's behavior, it helps to get someone from outside to come in and evaluate, and then provide behavior management guidance for both the teachers and the parents.  Preferably someone who could be a resource for the parents and direct them to where they could get a professional assessment done if they themselves cannot do it.  The child's behavior could be the result of something as simple as for whatever reason the child finds it hard to sit and at home they don't do any kind of discipline, so she simply gets up and does her thing according to her own whim.  And on the other hand, it could be autism.  But there are so many variables in between those two ends of the spectrum.  I'm sure the teachers are frustrated!

    Joanie Calem
    Music and Inclusion Specialist
    Sing Along
    Columbus, OH

  • 5.  RE: ideas for a toddler room with a child who show signs of developmental delays

    Posted 03-21-2021 04:45 PM
    Outside help would be great. I agree with others. My agency works mainly in the Early Intervention Program.

    If I researched it properly then this is the referral page for Early Intervention in Indiana (called Indiana First Steps).      Referral info is there for all parts of your state.

    In many states the services are at no charge to the parents, in some states there is a small parent contribution.
    If the child qualifies for early intervention services then a therapist would be assigned and could potentially see the child in your center and then give teachers tips.
    Let me know if there is any hesitancy with the parent. I've been presenting a lot on the 10 Questions & Answers about Early Childhood Special Education.
    There are many ways to approach parents with Words that Work.
    Using these words will increase the chance parents will be receptive.
    Feel free to connect if you have more detailed questions.

    Scott Mesh, PhD, CEO
    Los Niños Services (NYC)
    Young Child Expo & Conference

  • 6.  RE: ideas for a toddler room with a child who show signs of developmental delays

    Posted 03-22-2021 02:18 PM
    While these behaviors are different than those of the other children, I would first consider if there is anything cultural (whether ethically cultural or socially cultural within the family) that may be leading to these behaviors.  Enlisting the support and help of the family is a must-do here because they will need to practice new paradigms at home.  Only after all interventions have been tried should a disability be considered.  Have there been consistent behavior plans tried?  You stay at the table until everyone is done and you will get to earn XXX.  If you throw food, you will have to assist in cleaning it up.   Those are thoughts off the top of my head and not well thought out or formulated yet but ... I offer them for consideration.

    Catherine Woods
    Swanzey NH

  • 7.  RE: ideas for a toddler room with a child who show signs of developmental delays

    Posted 04-02-2021 12:49 PM
    Hi! I totally understand the frustration with dealing with children who possibly can be developmentally delayed but we aren't trained to diagnose. I agree with everyone about getting outside help. Please check your local early intervention programs and reach out to the parents asking if there are issues at home. I work with 2-year-olds and often it is just something that is done at home versus there is a problem. Does the child lack other fine/gross motor skills? walking, talking, and focusing on when someone is speaking. I have several children who do not like to sit down and often have to be reminded to sit down. Sometimes it is a lack of communication skills that the child is not receiving at home. I hope this helps.

    Jennifer Alquist
    Concord First Academy
    Concord NC

  • 8.  RE: ideas for a toddler room with a child who show signs of developmental delays

    Posted 04-05-2021 12:05 PM
    I feel your frustration and commend you for reaching out.  First, unless the child has been diagnosed, I would avoid the use of the "A" word.  Only a diagnostician should  determine what, if any, disabilities exist.  The child isn't even 2, so it may be simply a lack of experience and maturation.  Some families do not have a child sit for a meal and using her hands may also be acceptable at home.  You only describe meal time.  Are there problems at other times?  My best advice is to keep a log of her behaviors.  Note the antecedent (what happened before the behavior, the behavior itself (what happened and the duration) and the consequence of the behavior.  Unwanted behaviors are a means of communication.  The child is trying to tell you something and lacks the ability to do so.  Keeping a log will help you to discover patterns of behavior that may clue you in to what she is trying to say.   Also, unwanted behaviors generally yield some type of results (consequence) that the child is hoping for.  It could be this child wants attention, is frustrated by mealtime expectations, has difficulty sitting, etc.  If they child does not achieve what she wants, the behavior may subside.  The teacher may be unwittingly giving the child what she wants.  After doing observations for at least a week, sit down with the teacher and look for patterns.  Devise a plan of action and put it into place.  For example, since meals are an issue:  Set a visual timer for a very brief time and then allow her to get up when the time is gone.   Give her one food at a time.  Figure out what she prefers.  Give her a fidget toy to occupy her hands.  Assist her with a utensil.  Give tons of praise any time she picks up the utensil - even if she does not use it.  Look for baby steps and provide positive reinforcement.  She is probably hearing many NOs and is overwhelmed or frustrated.  This is just a random laundry list.  Without knowing the child, it is hard to give specific suggestions.
    If there are problems throughout the day, I would definitely document them carefully.  If the family chooses to pursue outside help, the diagnosticians will benefit from as much detail as you can provide.  (I used to do this for a school system)
    Best wishes to you.  I'm here if you'd like to chat further.

    Diane Postman
    Curriculum Specialist
    Smart Beginnings of the VA Peninsula
    Yorktown VA

  • 9.  RE: ideas for a toddler room with a child who show signs of developmental delays

    Posted 04-05-2021 05:08 PM
    hello Karen,
    You wrote, the child will not be 2 until this summer, so the child is a baby.  Often babies develop differently and are not old enough to make a diagnosis from the preschool teacher. The problem is children misbehave cry and fuss for attention because the classroom does not offer them an exciting place to roam freely and explore new toys all day long.  I would look at the classroom environment and re-arrange the classroom into learning areas and add plenty of toys then you will see a growth in development.  Young children learning to walk and talk need to be gently guided into standing up and playing and putting toys away when done with them. Also, table time activities need to be available to put out as an individualized activity to keep that child happily playing and busy.  The director needs to get materials that are ready to go so when the child sits down there's something to do. There's no punishment or bad behavior, but for a happier baby and toddler, there needs to be more toys and space to run and play free. 

    Melanie Smith
    The Preschool Doctor