How to Tell when Developmental Delays Signals a Bigger Issue

Developmental Delays: What Happens?

When your child has developmental delays, there are a few signs you can look out for. Pediatricians will usually look at milestones. Then, they will follow through to determine if your child suffers from a birth injury that may be slowing down their development. There are a few things that classify as a delay. Some of the most common milestones that pediatricians count include crawling, walking, pretend play, saying a few words, and identifying body parts.

The five biggest areas that your child’s pediatrician will look at include:

  • Social and emotional
  • Cognitive
  • Fine motor skills
  • Gross motor skills
  • Language and speech

The milestones will begin to occur at birth. From then on, a pediatrician will continue to follow these as guidelines throughout the child’s growth.  To learn more about this, you can discuss some of the traditional milestones with your pediatrician. If your child falls behind on these milestones, it could be due to a birth disorder that is slowing them down. That’s precisely what a pediatrician will look for.

How to Spot Developmental Delays

With every child, spotting the delays may be different. What worked for one family may not work for another because of how two children’s personalities can be so wildly different. In general, comparing one child to another is not an accurate way of measuring development. In addition, just because an infant has reached the milestones, this does not always rule out developmental delays. There are some warning signs that alert you to the fact that something isn’t right with your child’s development.

In terms of behavioral symptoms, your child may show signs of physical aggression towards other children. He or she may not make eye contact or lack social interaction. In addition, poor gross or fine motor skills may be evident, as well as floppiness or stiffness in the arms.

Anytime that you are concerned your child may have a developmental delay, it is important to contact your child’s doctor.  He or she can take a closer look to determine what is going on. In some cases – such as if your child has cerebral palsy – you could be entitled to financial help. This birth injury can cause children to suffer from problems throughout their lifetime, and this can quickly become costly.

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Rae S, Editor

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Elena Amato Borrelli, Expert

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Article Citations

  1. Immunizations and Developmental Milestones, CDC