emilyd asks:

Is my 4 year old behind?

My child is 4 years old and is very verbal and understands very well. Her motor skill I think may be behind. She does not want to color except scribbling for about ten seconds. Her writing is very bad and her cutting is not very good. She can't put doll clothes on without help. Legos are too challenging.  She just started pre-k so she has a whole year before kindergarden. Her attention span is very short as well. She was a drug exposed baby who we adopted at birth. Should I be concerned or just see what happens this year is pre-k.  
In Topics: Kindergarten readiness, Cognitive development
> 60 days ago



Jul 8, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Hello and thank you for writing to JustAsk. There are so many skills that children need to learn between birth and kindergarten age to be "ready" for school.  Sometimes, skill development can be uneven.  For example, a child will learn to say his first word and then take his first step weeks later.  The same can be true when they are four.  Perhaps your daughter is working at other developmental milestones such as socialization, language or self-help skills (such as toileting, washing, dressing herself).  Small motor skills, such as writing are important to school, however she is young and has much time to achieve them.  Keep exposing her to blocks, washable markers, clay/play-doh, Legos and other "hands on activities".

If you continue to be troubled, and it sounds like her early drug exposure is a concern for you, then please feel free to contact your local school district and ask for an early childhood intervention screening.  Specialists will invite you for a meeting to ask about your daughter's development and whatever history you can provide. Then they may observe your child, if warranted.  Also, if she qualifies for special assistance, they will be able to discuss this with you, as well.

Try and keep a log of her achievements by writing on a calendar.  This will help you to document when some developmental milestones have happened. (e.g. Such as the day she learned to ride a bike with training wheels)

Good luck!

Louise Masin Sattler
Nationally Certified School Psychologist
Owner of Signing Families

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