Little Rascals

Watch for developmental delays

As you watch your child grow, remember that each child develops at his or her own pace and the range of normal is quite wide.

However, it is helpful to be aware of red flags for potential developmental delays in children. These delays are significant lags in one or more areas of emotional, mental, or physical growth.

If your child experiences a delay, early treatment is the best way to help him or her make progress or even to catch up.

There are many different types of developmental delays in infants and young children. They include problems with:

  • Language or speech.

  • Vision.

  • Movement.

  • Social and emotional skills.

  • Thinking.

Speech delays in toddlers are common. In fact, language and speech problems are the most common type of developmental delay.

A variety of problems may cause language and speech delays, including:

  • Exposure to more than one language, which can cause mild delays in toddlers but not by the time they reach school age.

  • A learning disability.

  • A problem with the muscles controlling speech.

  • Hearing loss, which may occur in children who have severe middle ear infections or occur as a result of certain medications, trauma, or genetic disorders.

  • Autism spectrum disorders.

If a child is found, on a developmental evaluation, to have some developmental delays, it is important that intervention occurs early on in childhood for a number of reasons.

Generally, children need to learn these developmental skills in a consecutive fashion. For example, a child needs to learn to sit up on her own before she will be able to stand up.

Also, early intervention helps a child advance in all areas of development. Sometimes, if a child has a delay in one area, such as speech, it can affect other developmental areas, such as socially and emotionally. Therefore, it is vital that a child receive early intervention as soon as possible.

Finally, early intervention is critical for the child to develop good self-esteem. Without early intervention, a child’s self-image may suffer and they may try to avoid school.

For example, a child who has a language delay may feel embarrassed to speak in front of their peers and teacher at school.

Early intervention can help prevent these embarrassing moments for a child before they begin school.

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