When the developmental milestones of a particular age is not met by a child, he/she is said to have developmental delay. Main areas where delay can occur are speech and language, motor functioning, play, cognitive skills and social skills.  When a child has delay in two or more areas like this, they are said to have global developmental delay.

Causes of Developmental Delay

Several factors contribute to development delay and this can occur even before a child is born or during birth process or after birth also.These factors include:

  • Conditions that are hereditary or genetic like Down syndrome
  • Metabolic disorders like phenylketonuria (PKU)
  • Syndromes like shaken baby syndrome caused due to trauma to the brain
  • PTSD
  • Toxic substance exposure such as prenatal alcohol exposure or lead poisoning
  • Severe infections
  • Deprivation of food or environment

Cause of developmental delay may not be found in some cases.

Signs and Symptoms of Developmental Delay

Signs and symptoms of development delay vary depending upon specific characters.

Some can be seen in early infancy age itself while others may not be noticed until child reaches school age. Common symptoms of development delay can include:

  • Developing and learning slowly than other children of same age
  • Rolling, crawling, sitting or walking in a much delayed manner
  • Difficulty in socialization and communication
  • IQ scores in a less than average rate
  • Delayed speech or difficulty in talking
  • Having problems in remembering things
  • Not able to connect their actions with consequences
  • Logical thinking or problem solving difficulty
  • Issue with academics
  • Inability to do everyday tasks without help

Identification and treatment of any underlying medical conditions can help reduce issue with developmental delay.

Therapies for Developmental Delays

Therapies have proved to be very effective in addressing specific areas of delay and helps children in catching up with their peers. Major therapies are:

Physical Therapy

To help children having gross motor delays

Occupational Therapy

For addressing fine motor development, sensory processing and self-help issues.

Speech and Language Therapy

Speech therapy addresses issues association with speech and language development in children

Early Childhood Special Education

Early childhood special education provides stimulation for early developmental skills, including play skills.

Behavioral therapy

To reduce maladaptive behavior and promote adaptive behaviors.