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Do you suspect that your baby or toddler might have a developmental delay? A developmental delay is often diagnosed when a child does not reach their developmental milestone when expected. They can range from minor to something more significant. Delays may be within speech, vision, and/or motor skills. Majority of pediatricians continue to say that the child will “grow out of it”, but in many cases this is not true. Always listen to your mommy gut and seek advice from other professionals.
Speech and language delay in toddlers are very common. In fact, they are the most common form of developmental delay. While speech refers to verbal communications, language is more about how your little one is able to express and receive information. One language delay cause that you should investigate though is a potential hearing loss, luckily this is rather easy to rule out, but if you are worried check with your child’s pediatrician. If your school-aged child is still struggling with language you may need to look into a possible learning disability (like attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD), and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). If you suspect a speech delay, your pediatrician will likely refer your child to be evaluated by a speech-language pathologist.
If you suspect that your baby or toddler has a language delay, here are some signs to watch out for:
- Does not babble or respond to loud noises by 3 to 4 months
- Does not attempt to imitate sounds by 4 months
- Does not respond to sounds at all by 7 months
- Does not use any single words by age 1
- Cannot speak at least 15 words, can only imitate speech, or does not use speech to communicate by age 2
Gross motor delay affects the ability to crawl or walk. Whereas a fine motor delay will impact your baby or toddler’s ability to use utensils or hold a crayon properly. Common causes include premature birth, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, vision problems, and cognitive delays. If you suspect a delay in motor skills, your pediatrician may recommend physical therapy and/or occupational therapy.
If you suspect that your baby or toddler has a motor skills delay, here are some signs to watch out for:
- Does not reach for, grasp, or hold objects by 3 or 4 months old
- Does not roll over in either direction by 5 months
- Cannot sit up without help by 6 months
- Does not actively reach for objects by 7 months
- Does not crawl or cannot stand while being supported by age 1
- Cannot walk or push a wheeled toy by 18 months
- Still walks on toes by age 2
A cognitive delay refers to problems with thinking and can sometimes be referred to as an intellectual disability. If your little one has a cognitive developmental delay then it may be due to a learning disability (like ADHD), lead poisoning, a genetic disorder, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Early intervention and treatment is key when addressing this type of developmental delay.
If you suspect that your baby or toddler has a cognitive delay, here are some signs to watch out for:
- Not producing babbling sounds
- Not pointing to ask for things
- Not holding up objects to share with an adult (joint attention)
- Not using eye contact when engaging with an adult
- Not responding to own name when called
What can you do if you suspect a delay in any of their skills? Seek professional advice. Trust your instincts. Begin early intervention. The earlier the treatment the better. At Brain Connex Therapy we work with the parent/caregiver and coach them on how to play and move with their child. The neuro-developmental movements we perform help increase development in all areas: cognitive, motor, social/emotional, visual, and auditory.