Identifying Developmental Delay and Deviation in Your Child

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Firstly let us understand what a developmental delay is. As a child grows he learn many new skills and behaviors, these are called developmental milestones. When each child will achieve these milestones varies from child to child. Developmental delay refers to a child who is not achieving milestones that fall within a certain age range. For example – a child is usually expected to walk around the age mark of 15 months, but if even by 20 months the child is showing no signs of walking it would be considered as a developmental delay. Developmental delay in one area may be accompanied by delay in another area.


There are five groups of developmental milestones –

Gross Motor – use of the large muscle groups in the body to sit, stand, walk etc

Fine Motor – use of the small muscle groups in the body to achieve skills like grasping, writing, dressing, lacing etc

Language – involves not only words and talking but also gestures, communication etc

Cognitive – involves thinking skills like learning, reasoning, analyzing, problem solving etc

Social – interaction with others, relationships with family, cooperation, understanding feeling and emotions etc.

There are a number of causes for developmental delay which range from genetic factors, complications during pregnancy and childbirth; but a specific cause is still unknown.

Developmental deviation occurs when a child achieves a milestone outside the typical sequence of acquisition. For example, rolling over is one of the many developmental milestones but if this occurs too early then it might be due to abnormal reflexes and a sign of possible cerebral palsy.

As parents it is important that you identify if there is a developmental delay or deviation with your child. Early detection and diagnosis of either is crucial so can intervention and treatment can minimize the effects of the problem and help your child cope. Saying that remember that a slight delay in achieving milestones does not mean that there is a problem. Don’t be in a hurry to label your child until you undergo proper screening and diagnosis with a professional.

Ways to identify developmental delays and deviations :

Pay attention to your child’s growth and development – if possible maintain a growth or milestones chart and track your child’s development in each of the 5 areas. If you find that your child is lagging behind or accomplishing some milestones earlier than most others it might be worthwhile to consult a doctor and get a professional diagnosis.

Signs – as a parent if you see any signs in your child with regards to their developmental that does not seem normal or bothers you get it checked.

Obtaining information – if you wish to know more about milestones, developmental delays, deviations etc look up information on the internet, ask your doctor and find out as much information as you possibly can. It will help you find answers and bring you some peace of mind results from a professional diagnosis and screening is obtained.