What you should know about Developmental Delay

What you should know about Developmental Delay

26 August 2019 Admin General Media

Parents often talk about meeting milestones when they discuss their children. It’s exciting to see your child learn new things and explore the world. It is also common to compare what your child can do, as opposed to other kids – or even with your older kids. If you are concerned about other kids passing milestones before your child, you may worry about developmental delays. Here is what you need to know.


The Five Areas of Skill Development

Not meeting developmental milestones at the same rate as other kids may not always be a reason to panic. Not all children develop skills at the same time. Kids develop skills in five main areas of development, which include:

  1. Cognitive (or thinking) skills – The ability to think, learn and solve problems.
  2. Social and emotional skills – The ability to relate to other people, and express and control emotions.
  3. Speech and language skills –The ability to use and understand language.
  4. Fine and gross motor skills – The ability to use small muscles (fine motor) and large muscles (gross motor) in the body.
  5. Daily living activities – The ability to handle everyday tasks such as eating, dressing, and bathing themselves.

Minor differences in these milestones usually aren’t cause for concern. However, if they are behind in more than one area of development, it could possibly be a sign of developmental delay.


What is Developmental Delay?

A developmental delay is more than just being “slower to develop” or “a little behind.” It means a child is continually behind in gaining the skills expected by a certain age. A developmental delay can happen in just one area or in a few. A global developmental delay is when kids have delays in at least two areas.

Many parents worry that their child’s delays are somehow their fault. But developmental delays are typically caused by things beyond your control.

There’s no one cause of developmental delays, but there are some risk factors to consider. They include:

  • If the child is born prematurely; or with low birth weight; or didn’t get enough oxygen at birth.
  • Environmental issues such as poor nutrition; exposure to alcohol before birth; or difficult family situations.
  • Medical conditions such aschronic ear infections; vision problems; illnesses, conditions, or injuries that have a significant and long-term effect on a child’s day-to-day activities

If your child isn’t meeting multiple milestones as quickly as expected, your doctor may suggest doing an early intervention evaluation to get a better sense of what’s going on. The results can guide the types of supports that could help your child if your child needs them.


Difference between Developmental Delay and Developmental Disability

Developmental disabilities are issues that kids don’t outgrow or catch up from, though they can make progress. They aren’t the same as learning disabilities, but they can make learning more difficult. Conditions that can cause developmental disabilities include Down syndrome, autism, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), and brain injuries.

If you’re worried about your child’s development, share your concerns with your child’s doctor.