What is a developmental delay?
Developmental delay refers to a child’s significant and ongoing lag in meeting developmental milestones in any or all of the following areas: cognitive development, social and emotional development, speech and language development, fine motor skill development, and gross motor skill development.
What causes developmental delay?
There is no single cause for developmental delay, but there are genetic and environmental factors that increase the risk of developmental delay in a child. Children with a genetic or chromosomal abnormality (like Down Syndrome) are at an increased risk for developmental delay. Environmental risks for developmental delay include: exposure to toxins (e.g. drugs and alcohol) or infections (e.g. measles, HIV) passed from mother to child during pregnancy; prematurity; severe poverty; maternal depression; and poor nutrition.
How do I know if my child is developmentally delayed?
If your child does not meet developmental milestones within the appropriate, expected time frame, do not assume that he is developmentally delayed. You should, however, consult your child’s doctor to insure that no concerns or issues are overlooked or ignored. A full evaluation completed by a professional is necessary to determining if a true delay exists.
How can I help treat my child’s condition?
Treatment for developmental delay is dependent upon the areas in which a child is experiencing delays. For example, a physical therapist would work with a child with gross motor delay; an occupational therapist would work with a child experiencing fine motor skills delay and/or deficits in sensory processing; and a speech-language pathologist would work with a child displaying delays in speech, language, oral motor skills, and/or feeding difficulties. Other professionals who may be involved in treating a child with developmental delays include a nutritionist, audiologist, psychologist, developmental therapist, education specialist, neuropsychologist and/or licensed professional counselor.
Our Approach at North Shore Pediatric Therapy
At North Shore Pediatric Therapy, our therapists work with children with developmental delays using a multisensory approach to provide the child with experiences which help improve his fine and gross motor skills, speech and language skills, oral motor skills, social skills, behavior, sensory processing skills, feeding skills, attention, and any other difficulties that are hindering his ability to fully succeed socially, academically and personally.