Is your Child Developing Slowly? Know The Signs To Look For

September 16, 2020

About Play firmly believes that every child is unique and each one moves through life at varying rates. If you have observed children or if you have children of your own, you know that their temperaments differ from each other. One might be shy and feel things at a deeper level, while others might be more outgoing and expressive of their thoughts and feelings. 

Even though variation exists when it comes to achieving developmental milestones, the sequence is predictable. You, as a parent, know your child best and the following key features will guide you in determining whether your child’s development is not progressing at an ideal rate.

Gross and Fine Motor Delays

The motor skills of a child is a good determinant for developmental delays since these measurements can be predicted with a certain degree of confidence. At about 3 months of age, an infant can hold their heads at a higher plane than their bodies and by 4 months, this lifting motion includes the front part of their chest. By 7 to 9 months of age, if you place the infant in an upright position they can stay sitting up unsupported and by age 1, they may walk with assistance or with one hand held. An older child with motor delays may exhibit clumsiness when attempting to roll over or they may fall over when sitting upright. 

Another parameter is grasping. This fine motor skill occurs reflexively between 2 to 3 months. By 5 months, infants can grasp objects voluntarily. So, when you place a rattle onto their hand, they should be able to hold onto it even for just a brief moment. Older children with fine motor problems will have difficulty performing tasks such as holding a spoon, brushing their teeth, or picking things up off the ground. 

Delays in motor development may signal genetic conditions such as Down Syndrome or neuromuscular disorders such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy.

Cognitive Development Delays

Cognition is the process of gaining knowledge through the use of judgment and perception. If your kid lags behind other children in their capacity to acquire knowledge through their experiences, thoughts, and senses, they are most likely cognitive delayed. Jean Piaget, a renowned child psychologist, came up with the Theory of Cognitive Development in which he highlighted the developmental milestones of a child from birth to 12 years old and up. These milestones are divided into 4 stages. From birth up to 24 months, the child should progress from reflexive behavior to performing simple repetitive acts to imitate. If the child has difficulty learning and using his or her senses, you might suspect Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). From 12 to 18 months of age, ASD is characterized by not initiating eye contact, disinterest in people, unresponsive to their own name being called, inability to imitate gestures such as “Hi” and “bye-bye”, difficulty recalling vocabulary that they already used.

Language and Speech Delays

This parameter is a bit tricky since this is influenced by a lot of factors like how frequently you are talking to your child, the number of languages utilized in your household, your active role in the child’s acquisition of new vocabulary. 

Language refers to the tool that your kid uses to be able to express their thoughts and how they receive information, while speech refers to the manner of verbal communication. 

Things to look out for are:

  • Does not babble by 3 to 4 months
  • Does not respond to loud noises
  • By 12 to 15 months - unable to say two to three simple words
  • By age 2 - can’t follow simple directions or put 2 words together
  • By age 3 - unable to speak in brief sentences
  • By age 4 - the child’s manner of speaking is not understood 

If you suspect that your little one is developmentally delayed, you need to take them to their primary healthcare provider or a developmental pediatrician to be medically assessed and properly diagnosed. 

To address developmental delays in your child, early intervention is the most suitable solution. 

Here at About Play, we provide services that cater to the particular needs of your child, we will guide and assist you throughout the process of improving their outcomes. Get in touch with our professional team of Early Interventionists!

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