S17 EDUC 58012 Early Childhood: Typical & Atypical Development

S17 EDUC 58012 Early Childhood: Typical & Atypical Development

Distance Education
3 Credits / Graded A-F
Credit through Alaska Pacific University
Self-paced, start anytime

Early Childhood: Typical and Atypical Development is an interactive distance learning course which explores contemporary best practice and perspectives on early childhood development. Content includes patterns and sequences of typical development for children from birth to six years. Emphasis is on individual differences, cultural influences, and the impact of developmental delay and disability during infancy, toddlerhood, and the preschool years. Discussion will also include instructional technology (IT) and assistive technology (AT) applications for this population.

The first chapter will present an introduction to the study of child development from conception to age 6. We will examine the historical roots and methods of child study, major developmental theories, and developmental principles and definitions. This information will provide grounding for the following chapters on specific ages and developmental areas.

In the second chapter we will start to study child development chronologically. We begin with conception and growth before birth. This overview will include both typical and atypical conception, pregnancy, prenatal development and care, labor, and birth.

The third chapter begins with the newly delivered infant. We will consider the special characteristics and needs of newborns, both typically and atypically developing. Next we will focus on the growth and development of infants up to 12 months in each domain -- motor, cognitive, language, and social-emotional. Milestones, developmental variations, and red flags will be included for each.

Each chapter contains additional handouts or attachments that cover specific topics from the chapter in greater depth. They are provided for you to read, ponder, and apply to the early childhood education setting in which you work. Some of the topics are intended for you, as the professional, while others are intended for you to pass on to parents, when appropriate.

In chapter four we find there is no exact age at which infancy ends and the child becomes a toddler. Most cultures use the ability to walk and talk as indicators that babyhood has ended. This can happen anywhere from 10-18 months (a difference of two-thirds of a year!) For our purposes, we will consider toddlers to be those in the second and third years of life (or ages 1 and 2) regardless of abilities.

Finally, chapter five is the time of early childhood that was called the magic years by Selma Fraiberg (1959) in her classic book of the same name. She believed that the preschool period (4-6) is when children progress from believing in their own ability to control the world with fantasy to understanding reason. Young children live in a miraculous world where dolls may come alive in the night, trikes might have feelings, and your own thoughts can make things happen. The early childhood years are a time when the boundaries of fantasy and reality are still being tested and understood.


Chapter One
  • Define child development and basic developmental principles
  • Understand historical and emerging viewpoints on child study
  • Recognize major theories and recent trends
  • Identify research methods, designs and ethics
  • Appreciate the importance of child development to early childhood educators
Chapter Two
  • Outline family contexts of family planning and preparation
  • Describe the process of conception and fertility assistance methods
  • Explain the stages of prenatal development
  • Understand the role of genes and chromosomes in development
  • Define proper prenatal care and risks to the developing infant
  • Identify labor and birth options and processes
  • Discuss atypical conception, prenatal development, labor and birth
Chapter Three
  • Define newborn assessment & care
  • Understand typical and atypical newborn appearance & abilities
  • Discuss growth patterns and motor development in the first year, and variations
  • Describe the development of language and cognitive skills
  • Understand normal socio-emotional development of infants
  • Learn types of atypical development and conditions in each domain
Chapter Four
  • Define typical growth during the second two years of life
  • Identify motor development milestones and sequence
  • Describe cognitive development in 1 and 2-year-olds
  • Summarize typical language development in toddlers
  • Understand important socio-emotional issues of toddlerhood
  • Recognize common variations and atypical development
  • Understand the typical sequence of preschool growth and motor development
  • Describe preschool cognitive development and relevant theories
  • Identify language development milestones including emergent literacy
  • Discuss typical 3 to 5-year-old social emotional development
  • Learn types of atypical development and developmental variations

Course Objectives

ATTITUDES: The Participants will
  • Understand that the early years are critical for future learning
  • Understand that different levels of development need to be supported in different ways

PROCESSES: The Participants will
  • Identify sequences of developmental milestones in cognitive, social, motor, and communication domains for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.
  • Know how to discuss atypical development with parents, and how to refer children to medical and social emotional supports

UNDERSTANDINGS or SKILLS: The Participants will
  • Learn how to specify individual differences in development that are influenced by child characteristics, as well as family and cultural expectations.
  • Be able to adjust interactions with individual children (based on developmental status and unique characteristics) and with individual families (based on unique family culture and dynamics).
  • Understand how to select toys, books, and activities that support the development of young children, including those with special needs, individually and in small groups.
  • Be able to provide resources for parents of young children, and for continued professional development, including: developmental information on infants, toddlers, and preschoolers; services for young children with special needs; sources of equipment, supplies, and instructional and resource materials.

VESi courses are now tablet compatible, making it easy for you to recertify anytime, anywhere with reliable, stable online access.


Contact Information

  • Phone: 907-364-3809
    Email: asdn@alaskaacsa.org

Payment Instructions

  • Tuition: 

    $405 for Tier One Member Districts *

    $455 for Tier Two Member Districts

    *Click here to see if your district is a Tier One or Tier Two member.

    You may pay by
    • VISA
    • MasterCard
    • American Express
    • Discover Card

    Course Completion Policy
    From the date of registration, registrants have a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of one year to complete the course.  Per Alaska Pacific University policy, grades will not be submitted before the 30 day minimum period.

    Cancellation Policy
    Any and all cancellations of ASDN Distance Education courses, within 30 days of registration, will result in a $90 cancellation fee. No refunds will be issued after 30 days.