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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

The first five years of a child’s life are just FULL of developmental milestones. Most of us are familiar with the physical growth process; it’s easy to see if a child has learned to sit up or walk, for example. There are also social, language, and cognitive developments that should be monitored as well. Of course, all children develop at their own pace. But there is a generally accepted range of time in which most skills should be attained. If your child lags significantly behind, it’s better to know about it and intervene sooner than later.

Easter Seals, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit providers of early intervention services, has developed a free online screening tool to help parents keep track of their child’s development.

The easy-to-use online tool can be accessed by visiting www.MaketheFirstFiveCount.org . The tool was designed to help parents monitor their child’s developmental milestones from birth to age 5 and includes questions about a child’s communication, gross motor, fine motor, problem solving and personal social skills. All parents are urged to take the free 15 minute screening– whether you expect your child has a developmental delay or not. Below are just some of the helpful questions included in the screening tool:

– At two months, does your baby smile when you talk to her? Does your baby roll from his back to his tummy at eight months?

– At 4-5 years, does your child use four- and five-word sentences? Does your child usually take turns and share with other children?

To complete the full online screening tool parents can visit www.MaketheFirstFiveCount.org and look for a link to the Ages & Stages Questionnaires® (ASQ.) Results from the screening will help you see if your child’s developmental progress is on time and alert you to concerns that you can discuss with your health care provider.

Also please check out CVS Caremark Charitable Trust as their support makes free online access to the ASQ possible.