What does developmental delay mean?
Doctors use this term when a child doesn’t reach developmental milestones within the broad range of what’s considered normal. The delay might be in one or more areas:
- Gross and fine motor skills (such as walking and scribbling with a crayon)
- Communication and language skills (receptive, which relates to understanding, and expressive, which relates to speaking)
- Self-help skills (like toilet training and dressing)
- Social skills (such as making eye contact and playing with others).
“It’s important to remember that while development tends to unfold in a typical progression –most babies crawl before they walk, make sounds before they say their first word – children develop at different rates and in different ways,” says Claire Lerner, child development specialist at Zero to Three, a non-profit organisation promoting the healthy development of children.
Although children develop at different rates, there are some signs that shouldn’t be ignored. The sooner the problem is detected, the better it can be treated.
10 potential red flags that your child may have a motor development delay.
- Your child’s motor skills are regressing.
- Your child’s limbs seem stiff.
- Your child’s muscles seem floppy and loose.
- Your child doesn’t walk by 18 months.
- Your child walks on her toes.
- Your child favours one hand or side of her body.
- Your child seems very clumsy.
- Your child is constantly moving.
- Your child has trouble grasping and manipulating objects.
- Your child drools and has difficulty eating.
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