Developmental Delays: What you need to know.
As a parent, at some stage you’re likely to be worried about your child’s development and if it’s still on track. However, it is important to remember that every child is unique and follows his or her own developmental pattern. There are, however, broad developmental stages and markers that most children reach at certain ages and stages. But what if it’s taking a little longer than expected?
When your little one isn’t hitting these certain milestones at a specific age, doctors refer to the term ‘developmental delay.’ Developmental delays differ in every individual toddler and can be in one or more areas of development. In some cases, your little one might love exploring and interacting through movement, developing her gross motor skills. However, they might have a slight developmental delay when it comes to their language skills. Thus, it’s important to ensure that your toddler is making progress throughout all the developmental domains.
What problems should I look out for?
Language Skills: Certain signs of a delay in your toddler’s language skill development could be the inability to fully comprehend words and ideas. This refers to their receptive language development.
Expressive language development is the ability to express their own ideas in communicative words and sentences. If your toddler is still too young to be expected to reach the language milestone, you should keep an eye on your toddler’s ‘communicative intent’ which is your toddler’s ability to communicate his feelings through pointing, imitating and making sounds.
In order to minimise your worry and stress regarding your child’s development, it might be a good idea to familiarise yourself with the normal developmental timeline of babies and toddlers. This will provide you with basic guidelines instead of merely comparing your little one with those of the same age around him.
It’s important to remember that if your child is born prematurely, this will also influence their developmental progress. Sometimes, toddlers who were born premmie need a little more time to reach certain milestones other kids would have reached at that age, but don’t worry, that’s normal, and your little one will catch up soon enough. Doctors usually asses a premature baby’s development against the time they should have been born, evaluating your toddler according to his due date instead of the actual birth date.
What causes developmental delays?
• Complications of a premature birth
• Genetic Conditions
When should I contact a doctor?
Ultimately, you know your little one best, and it’s always wise to trust your instincts on this one. If you have any doubts or particular concerns, ask your doctor, even if it’s only for reassurance. Doctor’s should ask you about any general concerns you might have during check-ups, and if there is anything that stands out, your toddler can go through a standard developmental assessment to either ease your mind or pinpoint the specific delay and allow you to tackle it head-on.