Children take their own time to reach developmental milestones. While some children grow normally, some are slow and there is no cause for alarm when this happens. However, milestone delays beyond a certain period should be a cause for worry, both for the child and parents.
According to American medical website WebMD, there are different types of developmental delays and these include:
- Language or speech problems
- Vision problems
- Movement—Motor Skills problems
- Social and Emotional Skills problems
- Thinking—Cognitive Skills problems
The website mentions that delays can happen in one or more or all of these areas and when that happens, it is called “global developmental delay.” There are several reasons for global developmental delays such as:
- Genetic defects like down syndrome and others etc
- Fragile X syndrome, which is a type of cognitive mutation inherited from parents
- Severe medical problems caused due to preterm birth
- Sometimes causes cannot be ascertained
As a parent, you must watch out for delays mentioned above from birth to age 2 and if there are issues you must immediately see a pediatrician who will diagnose the problem and suggest the best treatment options. We also have to remember that Developmental challenges in children can be overcome by getting awareness about these topics and staying updated.
Here’s a list of developmental challenges and how to identify them.
Fine and gross motor skill delay
Fine motor skills include little actions like playing with a toy or holding a crayon. Gross motor skills include actions like jumping, walking, or throwing a ball.
As mentioned in the beginning, different children exhibit different developmental milestones. Normally most children should be able to sit with some support by six months and walk by the time they turn two. By the time they turn five, most kids should be able to run, talk, and eat with their hands.
According to medical website Healthline.com, you must watch out for the below signs to understand whether or not your child has delays in fine and or gross motor skills:
- Weak or loose limbs and trunks
- Hard arms and legs
- Limited arms and legs movement
- Inability to sit without support after the kid is nine months old
- Inability to stand by the time the kid is one year old
It’s okay for a child to delay certain milestones by some months and there’s no cause of concern, however, if the milestones are not achieved after the timelines, then you must rush to a pediatrician immediately.
Also called as ‘Intellectual Disability,’ cognitive delay means when a child is unable to communicate and take care of himself, due to certain limitations in mental functioning. As a result, the child learns and develops slowly than normal children.
Children with cognitive challenges take a long time to speak. They also have issues in taking care of their personal needs such as eating, brushing, dressing or wearing shoes. They are also most likely to have trouble learning in school and at home. Take your child to a pediatrician if you see any of these delays.
Cognitive disability examples include attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, aphasia, language delay, and learning disabilities. It’s also important to the child thoroughly examined as cognitive delays can also happen due to brain injury caused by infections like meningitis. As it happens in most cases, it’s not exactly possible to find out the real reason for this type of challenge and your child’s doctor is the right person to judge the delay.
Speech and language delay
Speech and language delay means a child is not developing speech and language at the right time and milestone. The best way to identify whether or not your child is having speech and language issues is when your child does not talk as much as other children of his age. For example, your child must be able to say simple words like “mama” clearly and understand simple words like “no” and “stop” by the time he is 1 or 1.5 years old. If you see there’s a delay beyond a certain level, you must show your child to a doctor immediately.
Several reasons can cause speech and language delays and these include hearing loss, slow development, inability to understand or communicate, and not being able to enough time with adults at home.
Some developmental delays happen even before a child is born due to genetics and some can happen after birth due to environmental or other factors. There’s no way one can find out the exact cause for delays and so it’s important for parents to keep a watch on the child’s development milestones by being in regular touch with the doctor.
There are treatments available for most developmental delays and only the pediatrician can suggest the right strategy. That may include medications and in some cases, he may refer your child to a specialist.
Timely intervention, in the case of developmental challenges in children, can do a lot of wonders. The earlier you diagnose a delay, the better it will be for your child’s growth into a healthy adult.