What is developmental delay?
Developmental delay occurs when a child does not reach certain developmental milestones at the expected age. Developmental delay is an ongoing delay in the process of physical and mental maturity and is different from a temporary lag in development. Each child grows at his or her own pace, and the concept of normal varies widely. However, there are certain milestones of maturity that every child must cross within a set range of weeks to months, if the child is normal.
How do I recognize the signs of developmental delays?
A parent is the first person to notice the signs of developmental delays in toddlers. When parents notice that their children are not developing at the same rate as compared to other children of the same age, it is natural to be concerned. Most of the time, it is just a temporary lag as the child is busy cultivating some skill other than the one observed, and it is not a case of developmental delay. Talk to your pediatrician about your concern if you feel that your child has developmental problems. The doctor may ask you a series of questions about your child's growth and development to assess his delayed milestones. You may also be referred to developmental specialist if your doctor deems necessary.
Observe your child on the following four parameters:
If you feel that your child is lacking in one or more of these developmental factors as compared to other children his age, then it is time to seek help. If your child shows developmental delay in all or most of these skills, this is termed as global development delay. Global development delay needs to be taken seriously as it may be an indicator of a genetic defect or other serious medical issues. Timely medical help and intervention go a long way in assisting the child overcome his or her disorders and helps them to lead a normal life.
When should I talk to the doctor?
For children with developmental delays, early intervention is the key to faster and better progress. It is wise to talk to your doctor as soon as you notice any signs of developmental issues. Ask questions to your doctor and satisfy your concerns.
What are the causes of developmental delays in babies?
Malnutrition and prematurity are the two major factors that contribute to developmental delays in babies. Extreme stress is another contributing factor.
- Stress: Stress affects brain development of children and may also hinder cognitive development. Children are highly resilient, and unconditional acceptance and love go a long way in managing stress.
- Nutrition: Proper nutrition is important for the health and wellbeing of every individual. However, a lack of adequate nutrition can lead to stunted growth and delayed development. Ensure your child eats a well-balanced and nutritious diet. Keep away from junk food and develop healthy eating habits in your child from a young age.
- rematurity: Preterm birth can contribute to a number of developmental problems in children. Preterm children have a higher risk of developmental problems as compared to full term children. In case of preterm babies, development is measured against the corrected age of a child. If a 1-year-old child is born 2 months early, then the corrected age of the child will be 1 year minus 2 months, which is ten months. It is important to keep a keen eye on the developmental milestones of preterm kids.
Disclaimer: The information in the article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor.
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