Developmental Delay in Children
What is a Developmental Delay in Children
All children develop at their own pace and time, some will develop faster in some areas than in others. And it is common for siblings or twins to develop at different rates. For example, 1 child may be able to speak in short sentence by age 2 years old, whereas another may only be starting to speak a single word at this age). However when a child is taking too long to develop these skills they may need additional support to help bring them on.
Developmental delay is when a child takes longer to achieve the predicted developmental milestones. This may be in just one area (e.g speech or gross motor skills) or be delayed in a number of areas. The domains of development include; Speech and Language, Cognition, Vision and Awareness, Social and Emotions, Fine and Gross motor skills. Developmental delay in children is thought to affect 10-15% of preschool aged children.
Sometimes there can be a significant delay in a number of areas, this may be referred to as Global Developmental Delay. This is less common and has been found to occur in 1-3% of preschool children. Your health visitor should monitor your child’s progress and you may be asked to complete their ASQ (Ages and Stages Questionnaire) at regular intervals throughout your child’s growth, usually at 2-3 months, 6 months, 9-12 months and 18 months etc. This will help to identify any areas of delay sooner rather than later.
You can also find a checklist of milestones on the link below:
What can cause Development Delay?
There is no single cause of for developmental delay in children, but there are some contributing factors that could occur before the child is born, during the birth process and antenatally. These can include?
- Genetic or hereditary conditions like Down syndrome etc.
- Metabolic disorders
- Injury to the brain
- Severe psychosocial trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder
- Exposure to certain toxic substances like prenatal alcohol exposure or lead poisoning
- Infections during pregnancy
In some cases, it may not be possible to find the cause of the developmental delay.
How can physiotherapy help?
Here at Chapman Physiotherapy, we can work along side any NHS Physiotherapy provision or without if you are not known to their service or awaiting a referral. Our initial 1-hour assessment will involve gathering a details history of child’s development today as well as understanding any complications that may of occurred during pregnancy. This may help to identify any contributing factors to any potential developmental delay. We will then observe your child play or move around in space before getting ‘hands on’ to thoroughly assess for any changes in muscle tone, tightness or weakness that may be contributing to the delays.
From here we can develop some exercises, activities and ‘hand on facilitation’ to help your child develop their gross motor skills to progress with their developmental milestones.
We are able to offer physiotherapy treatment blocks to work with your child to help progress and develop their gross motor skills in the community (including home, nursery/ schools). Or we can offer regular check ups at our clinic to check and monitor their progress with the home-based strategies/ activities.