As the mother of a child with delay in communication and, thus, socialization, I tend to try and avoid the other children my son’s age. This is pretty easy since he’s my only child. I only drop off and pick him up at school so I don’t see much there. I’m an only child so there are no nieces and nephews. My husband’s siblings (3 of them) have no children. So, we’re pretty isolated, except for those social meetings like birthday parties.
That being said, those social events do stir up the sediment of my brain and force me to wonder, where are all the other kids he sees every day developmentally? How far behind is he? Does it matter? And if it does matter, why?
I think I need to look at the last two questions first. Does it matter where he is in comparison to “other children” his age? It won’t change anything. He’s getting all the medically viable treatment he can get until his testing is completed. It won’t “narrow the gap”, so to speak, if I know.
On the other hand, if I do know what the expectations are for the NT (neurotypical or “normal”) children my son’s age, it may give me an idea what my son has to try to understand in his day to day life. Maybe I can help him respond. Knowing that information may help me understand how best to approach homework.
Knowing will also help me face reality, instead of burying my head in the sand. Coming to accept the reality might prevent me from feeling so crushed the next time I see him in a social setting of any kind. So, it matters in a positive way.
Where to look for those milestones? I went here, mainly because I found it less offensive than other websites of similar ilk. The thing I liked about this site was their acknowledgment that all 5 year olds are different, just like any person is different than someone of the same age. Let’s see what they say:
Okay. Right along with the NTs, my son is adjusting to kindergarten. Apparently, some people don’t like how he’s adjusting or think it is enough to keep him engaged. I’m not so sure. And, he loves kindergarten.
“Increased poise, coordination, and stamina. While only a few are truly skilled at shooting baskets or scoring soccer goals, just about all 5-year-olds are able to hop, skip and jump, throw (and sometimes catch) a ball, and climb the stairs without effort.”
Here, he’s growing and developing. He can throw and catch a baseball, shoot hoops on a Little Tikes Grow Basketball Hoop. He can hop and he can jump. Skipping- that’s a no.
“Losing the first tooth. Children commonly begin to lose baby teeth somewhere between 5 and 6 years of age, soon to be replaced by their permanent, or “secondary” teeth. ”
My little guy is ahead of the pack on this one. He lost his first tooth at four. And yesterday? Lost the second of his two front teeth! Now, how long does it take for the permanents to come in? I guess we’ll be literally singing for those two front teeth for Christmas, although I’m pretty sure he can use his language skills to convey another idea or two to me.
Understanding harder concepts and increasing their vocabulary. Five-year-olds typically can understand and apply concepts such as “under,” “over,” “because,” “why,” “before,” and “after.” They often have vocabularies of more than 2,000 words.
Whoa. Ok. He understands “under”. He does not clearly understand “why”, “before” or “after.” I have no idea how many words are in his vocabulary. I’m not counting, but my guess is less than 2000.
Developing reading skills. In general, 5-year-olds can not only write the letters of the alphabet, but also identify the sounds that correspond with many of them. Reading is a skill that a handful of children excel in, sometimes starting as early as 3 or 4 years of age. However, the vast majority of children learn to read in kindergarten.
Yay! Our point of excellence. My son has been able to read and spell since age 2. He started spelling colors then. He can read signs, messages, simple books and enough to navigate to websites on the computer.
Tying shoes and buttoning buttons. Whether or not 5-year-olds have mastered this skill obviously depends on how often they have actually been exposed to shoelaces, since Velcro seems to be the hottest thing since sliced bread these days when it comes to children’s footwear. But for the most part, children are usually capable of both tying their own shoes and buttoning their own buttons before the age of 6.
Nope. Not even close on this one.
Telling right from wrong. Children at this age begin to not only tell right from wrong, but also start to care more about doing the “right” thing. That said, they still tend to be prone to telling tales and doing things they’re not supposed to do.
This one had me laughing. My son does know that yelling will get him in trouble (lose privilege). He knows that sassing will get him in trouble (time out). And yes, he still does do it. So, I guess he meets expectations here. As far as telling tales? Not so much as incorrectly answer questions like whether he has a pet rabbit. He likes to answer “yes.”
Looking at just these limited areas, he is not too different from his peers. The part I left out? How most 5 year olds talk nonstop during dinner, dragging it out. Apparently, you can’t get them to stop talking. The only words I hear are “more” “all done” or “Do you want your water?” if he’s feeling wordy, and “thirsty” if he’s not. To me, that’s some good progress because now he understands “thirsty” and “hungry”, six months ago, he did not.
My real expectation? Just to enjoy his growth as it happens. Love him and cheer him on. Every little step is a huge conquest to me.
Don’t show off every day or you’ll stop surprising people. There must always be some novelty left over. The person who displays a little more of it each day keeps up expectations and no one ever discovers the limit of his talent.