How To Recognize Developmental Delays In Children

There is a difference between developmental delays and simply lagging behind. Developmental delays refer to a mental, physical, or emotional slow down which impedes the progressive growth of a child. There are typical developmental milestones we can look for in children, so let’s learn how to recognize developmental delays in children.

Kinds Of Developmental Delays

Parents are usually the first to notice any type of delays in their children, so it’s important to note that children can develop delays in the following 5 areas:

Cognitive and Thinking Skills

This is the ability to learn and solve problems. With babies it might be curiosity. With toddlers it could be learning to count, name colors, and learn new words.

baby playing with colorful cubes

Social and Emotional Skills

This is how your child relates to others. With a baby it could be smiling and making sounds. With a toddler it means asking for help, getting along with others, and showing feelings.

Speech and Language Skills

This is the ability to use words and understand language. In a baby it includes making sounds and babbling. For older children it includes understanding what is being said and correctly using words in ways others can understand.

Fine and Gross Motor Skills

Fine motor skills are the ability to use small muscles in the hands. Babies use their fine motor skills to grasp things. Toddlers use them to hold utensils and draw.

Gross motor skills in babies include the ability to roll over, lift their heads, and eventually walk. Toddlers indicate this skill with walking, running, jumping and climbing.

Daily Living Skills

These include getting dressed, eating, and bathing.

Causes for Delay

Children can be delayed due to numerous issues including some of the following:

  • Complications at birth
  • Prematurity
  • Low birth rate
  • Environmental issues like lead poisoning
  • Fetal alcohol disorder
  • Vision problems
  • Nutrition
  • Chronic ear infections

When To Be Concerned

If your child has not mastered certain skills by typical standards, talk with your pediatrician. They can refer you to PediatriCare of Northern Virginia for an early intervention evaluation.

Reach Out for Assistance

If after 3 to 4 months- your child doesn’t respond to loud noises or doesn’t babble.

If after 7 months-your child doesn’t respond to sounds

If after 1 year- your child is not using single words, doesn’t understand words like “no” or “bye bye.”

If by age 2- your child cannot speak at least 15 words, doesn’t use 2 word phrases, only can imitate, or cannot use speech and conversation for more than their immediate needs.

Additionally you can learn about more specific CDC developmental milestones here.

The first three years of a child’s life are immensely important. Early intervention is best if you notice any delays or if learned skills are getting lost.

Contact PediatriCare of Northern Virginia if you recognize developmental delays in your child.

As always, if you have any further questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call (703) 330-3939 or request an appointment online today!

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