What you should know about developmental delay

baby

There are certain milestones during a child’s development that should be reached at certain stages of his or her life. When these milestones are not reached it is possible that a child may have a neurological disorder such as cerebral palsy, stroke, brain injury or developmental delay.

Unfortunately, in many cases a child may be misdiagnosed or diagnosed late due to an inability to recognize any of the warning signs.

What to Look For

In this post I will provide general tips on what to look out for as your child develops, as well as common warning signs that can help with early detection followed by proper treatment and care.

By taking note of your child’s progress and depending on his age and the severity of his condition, your child may be able to overcome his condition/delay and continue to progress like any child.

Cerebral Palsy and developmental delay

Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term which covers a group of motor conditions that can lead to physical impairment in a person’s development. The condition is caused by damage to any part of a child’s brain and as a result, it can also affect vision, hearing, speech, and motor skills.

When this occurs, it causes a child to become developmentally delayed, which is defined as being unable to reach certain marks of progress within an expected time period. As an example, a children who are twelve months old should be able to crawl on their hands and knees and pull  themselves up to stand. They should also be starting to take steps while holding onto something for support. If your child is around 20 months old and still has not begun to walk, then he or she would likely be considered as developmentally delayed.

Early Intervention

It is important to keep an eye out for any of the warning signs that may hint at developmental delay, as they may indicate a problem or other neurological disorders such as cerebral palsy. The earlier that a child is diagnosed, the better his prospects are for minimizing any effects that could impact his development.

The first signs of cerebral palsy may include:

1. Clenched fists, which come about from the damaged brain sending improper impulses to muscles and trunk and resulting in incorrect movement

2. Arching when the child is touched on the back;

3. Frequently throw his head back when a parent tries to pull the child up from a lying down position; and

4. Stiffness in the whole body.

Some symptoms that may indicate brain injury, stroke or cerebral palsy are:

1. A child’s inability to roll;

2. Strong preference for using one side or not using one side of the body at all; and

3. Dragging a leg or a hand.

Any of these signs could indicate the presence of a neurological disorder in an infant’s development. Should you observe one or more of these symptoms in your child, be sure to pay attention to your child’s movements and check in on your child’s condition.

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask

Remember that each milestone your child achieves plays an important role in his overall development, and helps to prepare him for the next step. In some cases, you may need to consult more than one expert in child development for advice. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and do as much research as possible. This is your child’s life, so do your best to help your child learn, grow and develop.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to drop a line and we’ll be happy to help in any way we can.

Natan

Written on 2012/07/13 by:

Natan

Natan Gendelman is licensed as a physical therapist in Russia and Israel. After moving to Canada, he was certified as a kinesiologist and osteopathy manual practitioner. Natan has more than 20 years of experience providing rehabilitation and treatment for conditions such as cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome, pediatric stroke and acquired brain injury. He is the founder and director of Health in Motion Rehabilitation, a Toronto-based clinic whose main objective is to teach their patients the independence necessary for success in their daily lives.
Latest Ebook
Back To School

Transitioning a Child with Special Needs Back to School

The phrase “back to school” inspires both joy and trepidation. When a student has special needs, those emotions are magnified and the checklists are multiplied. There’s nothing simple about t...
  • Mary

    Hello Natan,  Are you familiar with Anat Baniel Method (Feldenkrais) and Svetlana Masgutova (for reflex integration).  Likely you are familiar with both.  We are making big strides with these approaches with kids with autism, but know this combination has helped many with cerebral palsy too, provided both conditions (C.P. and autism are addressed when very young.  I am trying to reach, with considerable difficulty, children at risk for autism before they turn 6 months of age.  I have seen a family with mom, dad and eldest brother being on the spectrum, yet the baby did not turn out that way, given Anat Baniel Method from 4 months of age.  He is a socially/emotionally precocious, well adjusted, physically adept and cognitively bright and adventurous.

    I am a 37 yr experienced pediatric O.T. in private practice. For the first 25 years of my career as a pediatric therapist I only saw 2 children with autism.  In the past 12 years I have only seen a handful of children in my practice who are not on the autism spectrum. I do believe that so many in this autism epidemic could have a different future if diagnosed/treated bio-medically and with Feldenkrais and Masgutova Method in early infancy (before 6 months of age) before autism is well mapped in the brain. If autism is not apparent until the child has had the vaccinations, then treatment must start immediately to detox the vaccines and bio-medical treatment begun immediately, with Feldenkrais begun immediately, as well (if needed after the detox and bio-medical intervention).

    Do you have ideas how to reach these infants with autism waiting to happen?  Most physicians in our area won’t mention anything to a parent about a child being at risk, so instead tell moms that all children develop differently and that the “wait and see approach” is what they recommend.  This is the worst thing a parent can do when a child’s entire future is dependent on very early intervention

    Mary