Parents Guide to Developmental Delays and Disabilities
Children may encounter a wide variety of developmental delays as they grow older. Some types of developmental delays are apparent early on in the child’s life, most often those that are physical, while others may not be diagnosed until the individual is nearly 5 or 6 years old.
Developmental issues of a physical nature are classified as motor delays. This categorization includes conditions that often affect a child’s coordination. Kids with motor delays will often appear clumsy at a very early age, and will usually experience difficulties in crawling and/or walking.
Common causes of motor delays in newborns and young children include:
- Cerebral palsy
- Muscular dystrophy
- Spina bifida
There are several disorders that can lead a child to experience difficulty in both understanding others and expressing themselves when speaking. Some kids may also encounter issues with speech and communication simply because they are not often stimulated, and therefore do not have frequent opportunities to hone these basic skills.
Instances that involve the delay of social, communicative, or emotional regulation skills all belong to a group known as behavioral delays. Conditions that cause individuals to process information differently than others are often at the root of these developmental delays, which typically include:
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Pervasive developmental disorder (PDD)
It is also entirely possible for children to experience problems in this particular area of development from a lack of interaction with others, or from negative behaviors that they learned from watching others.
Conditions affecting the development of an individual’s brain will often result in cognitive delays that are typically detected during early years of schooling. These delays can make it challenging for the child to learn at the same pace as their peers, and they may also have trouble communicating with others. Unfortunately, the exact cause of a child’s cognitive delay is not often known.
Delays Versus Disabilities
There is often a lot of confusion about the difference between a developmental delay and a developmental disability. Although many of our patients will hear the terms used interchangeably, there is an important distinction to be made:
- A developmental delay is a temporary condition that can be corrected over time
- A developmental disability will always exist as a part of that person’s life
For example, a young toddler may show delays in the development of their social skills, but it is entirely possible for them to grow out of habits of shyness or introversion. This is a developmental delay. However, if an infant is born with hearing loss then it is considered to be a developmental disability since they will never naturally regain any sense of hearing that has been lost.
Make a Appointment with Pediatrics of Northeastern Pennsylvania
If you suspect that your child may be delayed in their development in any of the above topics, please give us a call at (570) 346-1464 to make an appointment today.