Development Delay

Development Delay

Development delay is when children have a naturally postponed cognitive and physical progression- when a child is showing delay in more than one milestone. These turning points are basically classified as motor, speech and cognitive skills, and social and emotional development. Not all individuals display the same slow uptake of certain skills. Some children might be able to adapt in a scenario faster than others, and their development delay could show up in later years. The children that are slow learners might be easier to aid. Mostly the delay is in relation to one certain aspect or condition; such as Fragile X syndrome or other chromosomal anomalies.

Nonetheless, it might be somewhat difficult to identify the basic condition.

Causes and Chances of Developmental Delay

In light of the research done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 17 percent of children between the ages of 3 and 17 have more than one developmental disability.

Most delays and/or disabilities may take place before birth, but that is not always the case. It can also occur during birth due to infection, injury, etc. Various elements that trigger the delay are genetic in origin, an example being Down syndrome.

Another cause can be an infection or other complications that may have manifested during pregnancy. Premature birth, for instance, can cause developmental delay as well. Some studies suggest that development delay can also be a cause of other various medical conditions, such as cerebral palsy, fetal alcohol poisoning, muscular dystrophies, etc.

Fine and Gross Motor Skill Delay

An example of development delay can be seen in fine and gross motor accomplishments. Fine motor skills include small movements, like grasping a toy or drawing with a crayon. Whereas gross motor skills involve movements on a wider scale, such as jumping, climbing stairs or throwing a ball, etc.

Every child grows at their own pace; however, a majority of the children can lift their heads by 3 months old, manage to be able to sit with some assistance at 6 months, and walk at good pace before their second birthday. Around the age of five, most of them are capable of standing on one foot for approximately 10 seconds. In addition, they have also adapted to being able to eat themselves by that age.

Some of the following signals can be taken as a red flag that one’s child might possibly be facing development delay in motor skills:

  • If your child has floppy and/or loose trunk and limbs.
  • Possibly stiff arms and legs.
  • They might display limited movement in arms and legs.
  • Their incapability to sit without aid around 9 months old.
  • There could be a dominant behavior of involuntary flex over voluntary movements.
  • If by one year of age, they are unable to steady themselves on their feet.

As mentioned before, every child develops at their own pace, so we shouldn’t unnecessarily burn ourselves out by getting stressed. Needless to say, we should as precaution pt for medical advice. There’s no harm in getting your child examined, after all.

Autism Spectrum Disorder and Development Delay

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a term used to characterize serious neurodevelopmental conditions. People diagnosed with autism may think, move, communicate, and altogether function differently from the neurotypical community.

Autism’s symptoms and causes are typically not the same for each person. Therefore, they may be acknowledged at different ages. One of the main aspects of ASD entails the delay in language and social development, which is why many jump the gun- assuming that certain characteristics of development delay could be an ASD symptom.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, studies recommend that all children be screened for the possible manifestation of autism between 18 to 24 months old- making use of regulated screening equipment.

Some of the symptoms of the delay in development do intermingle with those of ASD:

  • A child not responding to their name.
  • Their intense dislike of any form of physical interaction.
  • Their lack of facial expressions- difficulty to show emotions.
  • Having trouble carrying out any form of communication and/or recollecting words and sentences.
  • They constantly repeat the same words or actions.
  • Hand-eye coordination proves to be a challenge.


How Development Delay Can be Disguised and/or Concealed

A few cases of children with ASD have displayed severe cognitive delays, aggressive behavior, or physical “stims” (rocking or flapping of limbs), having us believe that it might be relevant to the condition alone.

Regardless of what’s placed before us, we need to remember that most children on the spectrum have had extremely mild delays, and other such related issues. That is because one of the main issues of autism is that it portrays children of determination to be either socially withdrawn or “dreamy”.  While there may also be some children on the spectrum that might have skills far beyond their years. In such situations, development delay becomes difficult to target.

Development Delay Treatment

Remember that children progress and advance in life at their respective rates, so it’s probable that what you may think of as a development delay might actually be typical for your child. However, if you’re still concerned, it is essentially advised to have your child examined by professionals.

Make appointments with your child’s physician and get in touch with the school district to find out available services. Specialized individual education can assist and aid your child in their progress in school.

Treatments for developmental delays are different, depending on the delay itself. Some treatments entail physical therapy to assist in motor skill delays, for example, and behavioral and educational therapy are used for help with ASD, etc.

Medications may or may not be recommended. An examination and analysis from a pediatrician is extremely important to plan out a proper structure for treatment, specially designed in the case of an autistic child.

Those with developmental delays may gain beneficial assistance from applied behavior analysis therapy, as this specific behavior technique is used as a gear toward certain disabilities. The sooner you can diagnose a delay, the better it will be for your child’s development into adulthood.