We continue with vision development through Edina’s eyes.
Please check out previous newsletters to read the first five parts of this story.
This newsletter includes the developmental time frame from 18-24 months.
Happy birthday! Edina is 2 years old…no longer an infant…now a toddler!
Children go through distinct periods of development as they move from infants to toddlers to grade-schoolers to young adults. During each of these stages, multiple changes in the development of the brain take place.
When your child starts walking on his or her own, it opens up a whole new world of freedom. Exploration of the environment is your child’s mission. Language development also takes major leaps. Your child learns words which turn into sentences. The one word that they develop early on is…NO! Your child may be able to easily say “NO”, but needs help to learn to respond to “NO” from others!
Your child’s vision continues to develop throughout the toddler years. As toddlers, it is important for them to continue development of eye/hand/body coordination, eye teaming, and depth perception. There should be no crossed or drifting eyes noted. Remember, your child should have already received their first vision assessment from a developmental optometrist!
This is a stage of rapid physical and intellectual development that prepares your child for school, which includes social interaction with peers. You, as parents, are in the position to “coach” your child, providing the right combination of support, encouragement and guidance. You are initially the primary teacher for your child to master the basic skills.
By the end of 24 months (2 years), many children are able to:
- Have approximately 200 words in vocabulary
- Speak in small sentences
- Show some independence, including defiance
- Imitate motor movements like dance, gestures, etc.
- Use stairs independently
- Kick a ball
- Build a 6 cube tower with blocks
- Start coloring
- “Pretend” read (look at pictures and babble-like reading)
- Have interest in potty training
- Good tracking skills
- Judges distances more accurately when grasping & throwing objects (look out!)
- Looks intently at a book as you read to your child
- Recognizes self in photo
- Matches simple, concrete shapes
- Locates specific pictures in books
- Imitates simple strokes
- Beginning to show signs of visual memory (retrieving a toy from a place it was last seen)
- Misalignment of the eyes (called strabismus) should not be present after 4-6 months.
- Your child does not seem interested in looking at objects or people
- Extreme sensitivity to lights
- Excessive tearing
- Red or encrusted eye lids
- Lack of visual attention
- Decreased movement or motor development
- Lack of language
If you notice any of the concerns stated above, take your baby in for a professional eye examination from a developmental optometrist or ophthalmologist. Also discuss your concerns with your pediatrician or family doctor.
Ways to Encourage Development:
- Baby-proof your house. Bumps, bruises, eye injuries & other serious injuries can occur as your baby begins to physically explore the environment. Keep cabinets that contain cleaning supplies or dangerous objects locked. Put barriers in front of stairwells.
- Provide plenty of playtime, including playing alone, with peers and with their parents
- Have plenty of SAFE objects and toys that can be pulled apart
- Use building blocks, puzzles and balls of all shapes and sizes to play with to boost fine motor skills
- Read or tell stories to stimulate your child’s ability to visualize and pave the way for learning and reading
- Listen to music and play with musical toys
- Provide tools for drawing, cutting and other artistic activities (crayons, markers, safe scissors, paint, clay, etc.)
- Get your child outside as much as possible, even in the colder weather. Well-chosen outdoor play games can provide for plenty of fun, exploration, education and physical development.
- With all the electronic media available (computers, tablets, TV, movies, etc.), electronic input for children of this age should be limited to no more than 2 hours per day (including educational programs).
Research shows that the key to healthy child development is the amount of time children spend time with their parents, having fun and learning at the same time.
I don’t want any parents worrying about their baby because of certain developmental “cut-off” dates. Development does not always progress in a smooth manner. All children develop at their own rate. Ask your doctor or nurse if you have concerns with the development or health of your baby.
I am blessed to be a part of my child’s and grandchild’s life. There is just no way to describe the love, fun and beautiful experiences that children bring to my life!
Feel free to send questions, comments or insights on your journey of transformation.
With love and gratitude,
Lynn Fishman Hellerstein, O.D., FCOVD, FAAO
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