How To Recognize Developmental Delays In Your Child

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How To Recognize Developmental Delays In Your Child | Triumph Therapeutics | Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy in Washington DC

The easiest way to recognize one is to get very comfortable around typical developmental milestones.

This way, if your child isn’t meeting them, you can quickly spot it and get them the help they need.

Triumph pediatric therapy center has a variety of specialists trained to help your child with any developmental delay they might have.

We offer pediatric physical therapy, pediatric occupational therapy services, and pediatric speech and language therapy treatments – each of which can help your child with their developmental delays.

Now let’s dive in.

What Is A Developmental Delay?

A developmental delay is any challenge your child has in reaching their developmental milestones.

They can come in many different forms.

Your child’s developmental delay may manifest itself in:

  • Movement and motor skills
  • Emotional and social skills
  • Thinking skills
  • Language or speaking skills

The purpose of milestones is to define what is considered the normal rate of development for children.

They are very wide to accommodate the fact that each child does learn at their own pace.

Developmental milestones are useful because if your child is not hitting them, they serve as a benchmark to indicate your child might need some extra help reaching them.

Or, that they might have a developmental delay.

Let’s explore each type in further detail below.

Speech And Language Delays

Speech and language delays are the most common type of developmental delay.

Speech delays refer to issues with the sound that comes out of your child’s mouth.

Stuttering for example is a speech delay.

Language delays are when your child has difficulty understanding the meaning of sounds and gestures.

Either will make it harder for your child to express themselves or understand others.

What Causes Them?

There are a number of reasons that can cause a speech or language delay.

Hearing loss, especially if your child has had a lot of ear infections, can cause this.

As well, it could be functional issues with your child’s tongue or other elements of their mouth.

These will make it harder for them to form sounds and words.

These delays may manifest in your child needing:

How To Recognize Them

Not reaching basic speech and language milestones can help you recognize that your child may have a speech or language delay.

Some typical speech and language milestones include:

  • Age 3 – speaks in short sentences, can identify body parts and make words plural
  • Age 4 – tells simple stories, nursery rhymes, and uses sentences of about five words
  • Age 5 – understands two part commands, gives their first and last name, uses the past tense correctly

It’s also a sign of a delay if your child loses a skill they have already learned.

Social And Emotional Delays

Social and emotional delays are considered soft skills that can impact your child’s ability to get along with others.

These are issues that typically surface before your child starts school.

What Causes Them?

As always, there are a number of reasons that could cause social and emotional delays.

One common cause is if your child has autism spectrum disorder or Down syndrome, both of which can affect how your child expresses themselves, interacts, behaves, and learns.

How To Recognize Them

Social and emotional milestones include:

  • Age 3 – Shows interest in other children, able to keep good eye contact, and is comfortable being apart from parents or caregivers
  • Age 4 – Pays attention to other children, respond to people outside of the family, and cries less often when their parents or caregivers leave
  • Age 5 – shows a wide range of emotions, wants to play with other children, and can separate from their parents or caregivers easily

As before, if your child is not reaching these milestones, it may be a sign that they have a social or emotional delay.

There are a number of different developmental delays that can affect your child. | Triumph Therapeutics | Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy in Washington DC

Motor Skills Developmental Delays

Motor skills developmental delays are any troubles with movements using muscle groups that your child might have.

Some examples include playing ball, coloring, running, and jumping.

The problem could be with their strength or coordination and they may come across as clumsy compared to other kids their age.

These types of delays are considered motor skill developmental delays.

What Causes Them?

For motor skills developmental delays, there is often not a particular cause that doctors can point to.

But, there are some medical conditions that could make them worse.

These include:

  • Vision problems
  • Ataxia, or a lack of muscle control
  • cerebral palsy
  • Muscle diseases
  • Dyspraxia, or trouble with movement coordination

How To Recognize Them

Let’s go through the typical motor skills milestones so that you can recognize if your child is not meeting them.

They are:

  • Age 3 – keeps their balance and easily does stairs, stacks more than one block, uses both sides of their body, works with small objects, and can stand on one leg for more than a few seconds
  • Age 4 – throws a ball overhead or catches a large ball, rides a tricycle, jumps in place, and hops on one foot
  • Age 5 – builds a tower of six to eight blocks, gallops, skips, walks up and down steps without using the handrail, brushes their teeth, washes and dries their hands

Cognitive Delays

Cognitive delays include any delays with your child’s ability to think, learn, and remember.

What Causes Them?

These delays can be tricky to diagnose and have a wide range of causes including flawed genes, physical problems, premature birth, accidents, and even environmental factors.

But, more often than not doctors can’t isolate a specific cause for cognitive delays.

How To Recognize Them

Finally, some cognitive milestones for you to know include:

  • Age 3 – joins in ‘pretend’ play, enjoys playing with toys, and understands simple instructions
  • Age 4 – joins in interactive games, enjoys fantasy play, and can copy a circle
  • Age 5 – isn’t as easily distracted, can concentrate on a single activity for more than 5 minutes

If your child is not reaching these milestones at the appropriate age, it may be an sign that they have a cognitive delay.

Book Your Appointment With Triumph Therapeutics Today

You can see there’s a wide range of possible developmental delays that can affect your child.

The best way to keep an eye out for them is to familiarize yourself with these general developmental milestones so that if your child is not meeting them, you can recognize it.

The earlier they get treatment, the better.

This way they can catch up and continue their path of growth with the help of pediatric therapy.

Book an appointment today with Triumph Therapeutics to schedule an evaluation if you’re concerned about your child’s developmental milestones.

If you’re ready to take the next step, reach out today for a free phone consultation.

Triumph Therapeutics
4900 Massachusetts Ave NW suite 340,
Washington, DC 20016

(202) 621-9793
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Triumph Therapeutics is a team of highly experienced pediatric therapists specializing in physical therapy, speech language therapy, and occupation therapy for children, adolescents and their families as they work to reach their growth and wellness goals