Developmental Delays: What They Are and How To Identify Them

Developmental Delays: What They Are and How To Identify Them

Every Child Has A Unique Way Of Growing

As a parent, you want the absolute best for your child. You want to provide them with the best resources, ensure their comfort and safety, and guarantee that they are developing and thriving in the best way possible. When you think of your child, it is important to keep in mind that they are continuously growing at their own pace. Reading, writing, communication, and knowledge all come with time. Children learn and develop on their own timelines. That is why taking their individuality into account during teaching moments and lessons is crucial to truly understand what exactly they need to grow.

What Is Considered A Developmental Delay?

While every child accelerates at their own pace, there are common milestones that are set in place to help make certain that your child is developing at the average rate. These milestones can range anywhere from physical abilities (like motor skills) to communication abilities (like verbally speaking and forming sentences). Developmental milestones are commonly known as the levels that each child needs to achieve before they can properly progress to the next stage of development.

When a child is faced with a delay in their development, it does not always mean there is something “wrong” with them. Not reaching a specific milestone at a certain time does not automatically mean that your child is behind in every area. A delay in their development may just mean that your child might require additional support to help them progress to the next stage of development. Below are the four most common developmental delays found in children:

    • Motor Delays
    • Socioemotional Delays
    • Cognitive Delays
    • Speech Delays

How Can I Identify Them?

There is not a specific symptom or characteristic that is the tell-all for a developmental delay. Just as children are unique in their growth, the possibilities of any potential obstacles will vary greatly from child to child. (For example, social distancing/isolation and the closure of schools/daycares during the the COVID-19 pandemic impacted communication, social, and even motor development in children born around that time). The key to understanding and supporting any developmental delay is to consider who your child is and what they specifically need. One way to spot a delay in their development is to pay attention to where your child thrives versus where they struggle. If you notice that your child excels in their fine motor skills but has difficulty forming words to communicate their needs, then they may need assistance with their speech development.

Another way to determine if your child may be behind in some areas is to research the ages children typically achieve certain milestones. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated their developmental milestones, and their developmental milestone list can be found here. You can also talk to other parents with children around the same age as your child, and you can also discuss any concerns with your child’s daycare provider, teacher, or pediatrician.

Helping Children One Step At A Time

Finding the right answers for developmental delays can be tricky. Some children reach their milestones at a later date with little to no additional support. There are other children who need support to help them develop in those areas. There are a variety of methods and professionals who can help you determine whether a developmental delay is present. There are assessments, evaluations, therapy, or mental health services available to you and your child. Prioritizing your child’s developmental needs is key to ensuring that they are growing up to be the best versions of themselves. Reaching out to a trained professional is one of the many first steps you can take to provide your child with the best care possible.

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