Have you noticed your child doesn’t seem to be hitting the same milestones as other children their age?
Milestones are certain markers in a child’s development that are usually accomplished by a specific age.
If you’re noticing that your child doesn’t seem to be on the same page as other kids their age, they could potentially have a developmental delay.
Though this may sound intimidating, it really just means your child may need a little extra help with certain tasks and skills.
Here at Little Feet Therapy, we offer one of the pediatric therapy specialty treatments we offer is treatment for developmental delays.
There are many things you can do to help your child with a potential developmental delay. Both pediatric physical therapy and pediatric occupational therapy can make a significant difference in helping your child keep pace with their peers.
Book your appointment with Little Feet Therapy today to find out more, or read on.
What Is A Developmental Delay?
As they get older, your child will go through a series of developmental phases.
If certain milestones aren’t reached within an expected time period, it may indicate that your child has a developmental delay.
Especially within the first five years of your child’s life, developmental milestones will be fairly predictable and easy to track.
If they do not reach milestones as expected, their development may be considered “delayed.”
This may just mean that key mental and physical parts of your child’s development may be happening slower than for children their same age.
Delays may happen in many different areas of development.
Speech, mental, social, and self care skills may all be affected by a developmental delay.
How To Tell If Your Child Has A Developmental Delay
As many as 1 in 4 children are at risk for developing a developmental delay or disability.
However, being a little bit delayed in their development isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. That’s especially true for kids who are still showing progress toward their developmental milestones. If that’s the case and they’re a couple weeks behind, it’s likely not cause for concern.
It’s also normal for your child to have difficulties with some tasks as they learn.
However, if your child has trouble with many tasks in a certain area of learning, this may indicate that they have a developmental delay.
For example, if your child has trouble with coordinating all their gross motor skills, not just a few, this is an indicator.
Here are some developmental milestones that children hit, broken down by category:
- By 3 to 4 months your child should start reaching, rolling, grabbing, and holding objects, and support their own head
- By 7 months, your child should be able to put objects in their mouth, sit up without help, and put some weight in their legs
- By 10 months, your child should be crawling, pulling themselves up to stand, and cruising along furniture
- By 15 months your child should be able to walk, hold their own bottle, and feed themselves finger food
- By 2 years your child should be able to walk with a heel to toe in pattern, run, jump, catch, throw, and feed themselves with a spoon
Personal And Social Skills
- By 3 to 4 months, your child should smile at people and notice new faces
- By 7 months, your child should show affection toward parents, be able to be comforted at night, smile without prompting, and laugh or squeal
- By 1 year, your child should be able to chatter, smile, and do basic hand signals
- By 3 to 4 months, your child should respond to noises, babble, and try to imitate sounds
- By 7 months your child should respond to sounds
- By 1 year, your child should start using short words like “dada”
- By 2 years, your child should speak at least 15 words and use two word sentences to communicate
- By 1 year, your child should have object permanence (know when objects are hidden), and use gestures such as waving
- By 2 years, your child should be able to follow simple instructions, imitate actions, and know the functions of common objects
If your child is behind on any of these skills, they may have a developmental delay.
If you do notice developmental delays, it’s a good idea to speak to your pediatrician. They can help you rule out any underlying health conditions that be causing them.
These conditions may include:
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Cerebral palsy
- Spina bifida
- Down syndrome
- Ehlers Danlos syndrome
- Seizure disorder
- Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy
- Tuberous sclerosis
- Muscular dystrophy
- Genetic or chromosomal abnormality
As well, both pediatric occupational therapy and pediatric physical therapy can help.
Let’s take a look at how.
How Can Pediatric Occupational Therapy For Developmental Delays Help?
There are a variety of ways pediatric occupational therapy can help your child with their developmental delays.
A pediatric occupational therapist can test your child’s sensory perception and sensory processing skills, cognitive skills, and get a well rounded understanding of your child’s struggles.
Games are one of the most common techniques pediatric occupational therapists use, making the sessions fun for your child.
Costumes can help a pediatric occupational therapist help your child learn to dress themselves, or a toy just out of reach may motivate a baby to roll over to reach for it.
The faster you react to your child’s potential developmental delays, the quicker you can work with your occupational therapist to find the best solutions for them.
Never be afraid to reach out to a pediatric occupational therapist, even if it feels early.
It’s never too early to invest in your child’s future success in school and daily life.
How Can Pediatric Physical Therapy For Developmental Delays Help?
Pediatric physical therapy is another avenue for assisting your child with their developmental delay.
A pediatric physical therapist can help determine your child’s strengths and weaknesses.
Your pediatric physical therapist will work with you to determine the best plan for you and your child.
They can help you establish goals for building up motor skills and give techniques to gradually work up to those goals.
For example, if your child is having specific trouble with balancing, a physical therapist could suggest various techniques and tools your child can use to assist their balance.
That way they could safely learn to navigate their environment and achieve increased independence.
Your pediatric physical therapist will work with you to determine how to take these techniques home and practice them with your child.
After all, your family is your child’s greatest resource in overcoming their developmental delay.
Your pediatric physical therapist will be able to give advice to your family and guide you all toward success.
Has your child been diagnosed with a developmental delay?
Or, having read the above milestones, are you wondering if they may have a developmental delay?
If so, we can help.
Book your appointment with Little Feet Therapy today to find out how.