Learn to spot the signs and symptoms of developmental delays in your child and how to seek appropriate treatment
Most people eagerly look forward to their child’s early milestones. Those first wobbly steps fill us with such delight and pride that it becomes a point of honor to share our child’s victories with other parents at the playground.
- “He’s speaking in full sentences already!”
- “She’s already crawling!”
- “We’re making lots of art projects together – he’s great at using scissors!”
While it’s fun to share and compare notes with other parents, it can be nerve-wracking to listen to other families’ experiences and wonder why your child isn’t progressing as quickly as others on the playground. We all want the best opportunities for our children, and parents often wonder how they can be sure their child is meeting age-appropriate benchmarks.
Recognizing the signs
The good news is, children develop at their own pace. Parents often get anxious when they compare their child’s developmental progress to others, and this can lead to unnecessary stress. Many children learn and discover the world around them on their own unique timeline, and it’s okay if they aren’t acquiring certain skills at exactly the same rate as other children.
So, how do you know the difference between normal childhood individuality and true signs that your child may be dealing with a developmental delay? If you are concerned, here’s how you can recognize and respond to the most common developmental delays.
The 5 key areas of early childhood development
Each child has a unique way of discovering and exploring the world. Therefore, determining your child’s developmental timeline isn’t an exact science. Still, there are five areas that showcase the most common developmental milestones in early childhood. Here’s what to watch for:
- Cognitive skills: problem solving, learning, and memory
- Social skills: expressing emotion, bonding with peers and adults, communication, sharing
- Motor skills: these include fine and gross motor skills, such as crawling, walking, grasping, drawing
- Language skills: speech comprehension and expression
- Daily skills: everyday tasks such as getting dressed, taking a bath, eating
If you notice that your child is struggling in one or more areas, particularly if he or she is far behind other children (for example, a baby at 4 months who is not showing signs of motor skill development, or a toddler who is unable to effectively express emotion and play with other children), then it may be time to visit your physician.
The importance of seeking appropriate treatment
Once you identify the signs and symptoms of potential delays in your child, you should speak with your doctor. This may be your primary pediatrician or a specialized physician, such as a behavioral pediatrician or pediatric neurologist. They will be the first point of contact for developing a treatment plan for your child.
If your child is diagnosed with a developmental delay, a strong treatment plan in conjunction with specialized services can be instrumental in helping them progress. These services vary based on your location and diagnosis, but they can include things like physical therapy for speech and motor skill delays, educational therapy and special tutoring, and more.
Regardless of the approach you choose, it is crucial to meet with your doctor to discuss your options. The American Psychological Association notes that social support can make a big difference in the health and well-being of families with developmentally delayed children. Utilizing the support and special services in your area can make go a long way toward helping your child’s progress and ensuring the overall health of your family.
Creating a customized plan just for you
At Lumiere Children’s Therapy, we know just how important those everyday milestones are to parents and children. That’s why we work one-on-one with each family to develop a custom treatment plan to reveal each child’s dynamic potential.
Our assessments involve a multidisciplinary team of clinicians, assigned as part of a personalized team for your child. Together, we collaborate with you to craft a therapeutic plan that includes all the areas of developmental assistance your child needs to become strong and successful.
We offer Speech-Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Developmental Therapy, Social Work/Behavioral Therapy, and Physical Therapy. We strive to provide a nurturing and loving environment where your child’s needs can be met with the utmost care and attention.
Contact us to learn more about how we can assist you and your family today.