5 Books that can Teach New Parents about Child DevelopmentThe five books I recommend this month are great for parents, caretakers, and educators working with infants to children aged ten. These resources were written by autism specialists, and occupational therapists who are experts in their field. Most of the games and activities are easy-to-do, enjoyable, and require only simple things that are found in many homes with children. Many parents of infants and young children are probably doing a lot of what the authors of these books and activity cards suggest. However, reading about it will give them a boost of confidence and a sure path to follow for the rest of their child’s formative years. In her book, Your Child’s Motor Development Story, Jill Howlett Mays MS, OTR/L writes, “Equipped with the knowledge of how to stimulate your infant and enhance his development, you will find ample supplies in your current household environment… When simple activities are coupled with actual time that you spend together engaged in play, a very happy and proficient child emerges, and the bond between you will strengthen.”
From Rattles to Writing: Parent’s Guide to Hand SkillsBy Barbara A. Smith, OTR/L This parenting guide has all parents need to do, how to do it, when to do it, and why do it. Barbara Smith’s fun sensorimotor activities that get your child moving and touching helps your child’s brain to organize sensory information and learn. The gross motor skills and fine motor skills your child learns in the first five years will promote the visual-motor skills necessary for writing and reading. Barbara’s parenting guide to hand skills takes you from birth to 5 years. We could say from cradle to kindergarten, from cooing and babbling to reading and writing. The activities were created for typically developing children but with the many suggestions on how to simplify or adapt the activities, it is also good for children with learning delays. If your child has delays in his development, going back to activities in this book for children of a younger age would be good. Throughout the book there are four different headings with symbols to indicate one of the following learning opportunities.
- Suggested Toys—will promote visual, sensory, and/or motor skills.
- Make Your Own—making your own toys increases the opportunity to adapt the toy to your child’s needs.
- Fun Activities—teach specific skills but in a fun way.
- Music—indicates a song or dance to teach movement and language concepts. The lyrics are also provided.