8 Most Frequently Asked Questions About Developmental Delay

Remember! Developmental delay in children is slowing down of growth and development than what is known to parents as normal. In fact, it is more than that. The problem is continuous and progressively lagging behind the phenomenon of growth when compared to other kids of the same age. In real terms, it is a diagnosis made by a doctor based on strict guidelines. Usually, though, the parent is the first to notice that their child is not progressing. Anyway, the following are some of the frequently asked questions pertaining to developmental delay.

How to know whether my child has development delay issue?

If you notice that your child is not developing or progressing when compared to children of his or her age; or when your child is growing slowly, sluggishly or seems to be lagging behind in growth – then you should consult a paediatric neurologist.

What are the appropriate developmental milestones for a child according to their age?

The following are the developmental milestones for a child according to their age:

  • Rolling at four months
  • Sitting at six months
  • Crawling at nine months
  • Pulling to stand at ten months
  • Walking at twelve months

 What are the common developmental delays in children?

  • Delay in vision development – vision problems
  • Movement difficulties – delay in the development of motor skills
  • Cognitive skills developmental delay
  • Social and emotional skills developmental delays
  • Language or speaking skills delay

What are the causes of developmental delays in children?

The most common causes of developmental delay include premature birth, Autism spectrum disorders, genetic disorders like Down’s syndrome, complications during pregnancy, chronic infections, Fragile X chromosome – an inherited type of cognitive impairment and foetal alcohol syndrome – which may result due to drinking excessive alcohol during pregnancy.

What are the risk factors for developmental delay in children?

 Prenatal infections like Rubella, Toxoplasmosis, CMV and HIV; environmental toxins exposure – mercury, lead and arsenic; head trauma; pregnancy-related complications; prenatal exposure to toxins – drugs, alcohol and smoking; nutritional deficiencies and maternal illnesses like autoimmune disorders, renal disease, high blood pressure and diabetes may increase the risk.

What could be the potential causes for speech or language delays?

The potential causes for speech or language delays include trauma, genetic disorders, use of certain types of medicines, middle ear infections, hearing loss, speech disorder (dysarthria), child abuse, autism spectrum disorders and other learning disabilities. The cause may be unknown (idiopathic).

What could be the potential cause for cognitive skills developmental delay?

The potential causes for cognitive skills developmental delay include Autism spectrum disorders, Down syndrome, medical health issues before birth, premature birth, parenteral neglect and exposure to environmental toxins – such as mercury, arsenic and lead. Cognitive skills developmental delay cause learning difficulties.

Why children develop walking and movement difficulties?

Walking, movement and crawling difficulties come under gross motor skills developmental delays. Difficulties in using fingers to grasp pencil, spoon, pen and other objects come under fine motor skills developmental delays. Most children have problems with dexterity in using fingers and gripping objects. Muscular disorders like myopathy, ataxia and other disorders like cerebral palsy and spina bifida cause these types of delays.

Bottom Line

Parents must intervene early and act fast

Many parents are of the notion that each child grows at their normal pace, but the normal range is quite broad. A paediatric neurologist detects and diagnoses developmental delay even if it is marginally below the normal range of development. Therefore, being a parent, you must be aware of the potential warning signals of developmental delays because your awareness ensures early intervention, diagnosis and treatment if your child experiences a developmental delay.

As a parent, if you notice significant slowing down of growth in your child, you must act fast.

Dr Habib Pathan specializes in the diagnosis, treatment and management of developmental delay in children.