Developmental delays are frequent in children, and they can surface at any stage of their growth period. They include emotional, cognitive, motor skills, vision, auditory, and speech impairments. Sometimes, children encounter a particular issue. Other times, there is a mixture of several problems. Either way, development challenges delay children’s natural growth. As a result, they lag and encounter more problems while growing up than healthy children of their age.
But you can also rectify most of the developmental delays with timely intervention. Nowadays, sophisticated medical equipment and diagnosis techniques can tell you the likelihood of problems even before a child’s birth. The chances of overcoming developmental challenges altogether also depend upon early diagnosis and intervention.
Therefore, if you leave symptoms unattended, your child will have to face hardships for the rest of their life. Since an infant cannot tell you about the issues except by crying and throwing a tantrum, you should interpret abnormalities. You should monitor symptoms and changes in your child’s behavior and growth curve. The early you notice and heed developmental challenges, the better it is for your child. Then depending upon the nature of the developmental delay, your child may go through physical, behavioral, speech, and cognitive therapies.
The following passages explore some developmental delays and symptoms to look out for in your child’s growth.
Delays in Speaking
Speaking in children varies, but they start to communicate when they are a year or so old. They start with sounds and then advance to simple words. If your child takes more than that or experiences slurred speech, you should consult with a specialist. Your child may be undergoing speech impediments, and if you ignore such indications, you may overlook a critical developmental issue.
Speech delays have a close correlation to cognitive and neurological disorders. As such, autism spectrum disorder also impairs children’s ability to understand language and communicate. Mainly, it occurs when the brain undergoes developmental impairments due to genetic mutation. Its symptoms are more noticeable when the child is nearly two years old. So, familiarize yourself with healthy speaking patterns and monitor your child’s growth accordingly. If your child does not respond to gestures, you should consult with the doctor. If left unattended, your child will encounter challenges while interacting with the world outside the home.
Inability to Balance, Sit, Crawl, and Walk
Children’s ability to balance, sit, crawl, and walk depends upon their motor and cognitive skills. Premature delivery and some genetic disorders contribute to motor skill developmental delays. Brain injury during birth is also one of the causes of motor skill delay. Motor skill deficits impair children’s muscular and skeletal growth and bodily coordination. They cannot achieve growth milestones similar to healthy children.
Challenges in motor skills are noticeable during the first few months of birth to a year. For instance, children cannot bear the weight of their heads, rollover, or grasp objects when they are a few months old. Healthy children endeavor to crawl, sit, and balance their weight when they are less than a year old. But children with developmental delays cannot do so. They need support to hold objects and sit even at the age of a toddler.
Generally, infants require roughly six months to attain clarity in their vision. But healthy children start to respond to gestures as soon as they stabilize after birth. They can make eye contact and try to follow the movements of the objects and hands when they’re barely a few weeks old. If your child does not react to changes in light or respond to gestures, there may be a problem. Some vision impairments are noticeable if you observe your child’s eyes. As such, uneven or slanted structure and size of eyes is a visible defect and may indicate Downs Syndrome.
Cloudiness or whitish spots in pupils can signal childhood cataracts. The tendency to make quick jerking movements is another readily noticeable symptom, which may correlate to a condition called nystagmus. Apart from that, some children start to experience vision impairment when they are toddlers. They rub their eyes frequently and hold objects up close, unlike before. They can better see and function in bright light than at nighttime. Such changes may indicate near and farsightedness challenges.
Inability to Interact with People and Surroundings
The inability to interact with people and surroundings falls under emotional developmental delays. Such challenges are associated with cognitive development disorders, such as autism disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, attention-deficient syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder. These disorders impact mental processing capability. As a result, children with challenges perceive things differently than healthy ones. Emotional development delays also have a profound impact on their growth and learning. They cannot understand communication cues and interact with people in a like manner.
Such issues are more noticeable when the child reaches an age of interaction. They sideline from socializing with other children or interacting with adults. Their school life is also full of hardships as they cannot connect well to their surroundings. But you can also spot these changes in the early years as well. If your child does not smile, cuddle, respond to affectionate gestures, and take more time to calm down after a tantrum, you can suspect emotional development challenges.
Inability to Respond to Auditory Cues
Hearing impairment is another developmental delay challenge that ranges from mild to complete deafness. It can be the outcome of a congenital issue, where a child has impaired hearing capability by birth or acquired. Hearing loss can arise from damage to any part of the auditory channel. As such, sensorineural hearing impairment occurs when the auditory nerve malfunctions. It worsens over time, and the child may lose hearing altogether in adulthood.
Whatever the cause, hearing impairments are easier to notice. You can observe your baby’s response to communication and sounds. They can react to loud noises and startle when they are hardly a few months old. They start to recognize mothers’ voices and respond to their calls with smiles and cries. If your child does not exhibit such behavior, you should seek help. With early intervention, you can help your child acquire suitable language tactics to communicate.
You may manage developmental delays when the child is a toddler or infant. But you cannot afford to deal with unfolding consequences as the child grows. Therefore, do not overlook developmental issues if you want your child to live and enjoy an independent and healthy life. Consult with the doctor as soon as you notice abnormalities in your child’s growth and behavior.