Renee_blog-photo_72dpiby Renée Smith/j&R Tutoring Academy

How do parents know if their child needs extra help? Anyone with access to the Internet – and that is just about all of us – can research learning problems. The good news is that there is a lot of information on the Internet. The bad news is that there is a lot of information on the Internet!

Then there are the inevitable opinions from friends, relatives, pediatricians, teachers, neighbors, and just about everyone else! How does a parent know what to believe?

The next few blogs will discuss when to be concerned. One common mistake parents make is to compare one child to another, whether their own or a playmate. No two children develop at the same rate, nor do they develop the same skills at the same time.

The charts in the doctors’ offices and the books are based on averages. Although most children fall in the stated ranges, nothing is 100%. My youngest child was a very late talker. I was really beginning to worry when paragraphs suddenly began coming out of his mouth! As the youngest of four, he had no reason to talk. There was always someone there to interpret what he wanted! He may not have needed to talk, but he certainly had been learning a lot!

This does not mean that nothing is wrong if a child has not begun talking when expected. I have a close friend whose son was not talking by age three. He had a profound hearing loss. Unfortunately she had to be very persistent with doctors and specialists before it was discovered.

Parents do need to pay attention to their children’s development. They do not need to panic about it. Although I have shared two examples that represent opposite ends of the learning continuum, the majority of children fall in between.

Education.com notes that children about to enter kindergarten should at least have the following ten skills:

1. Read their name
2. Recite the alphabet
3. Recognize some or all of the letters in the alphabet
4. Correspond some or all letters with their correct sound
5. Make rhymes
6. Hold a book right side up with the spine on the left, front cover showing
7. Recognize that the progression of text is left to right, top to bottom
8. Echo simple text that is read to them
9. Recognize that text holds meaning
10. Re-tell a favorite story

If you have a child who will enter kindergarten this fall, and some of these skills have not developed, then a summer program may be in order.