Your child has a DEVELOPMENTAL DELAY when he or she does not reach their developmental milestones at the expected times. Delay can occur in one or more of the following areas:
- Fine and/or gross motor skills: Fine motor skills are related to the ability to use small muscles in the hands. Babies use them to grasp objects and older children can build towers with blocks thanks to them or hold utensils, draw, etc. Gross motor skills are related to the ability to use large body muscles. Babies use them to sit up, roll over, stand up and begin to walk and older children can jump and climb thanks to them.
- Social and emotional skills: Children need them to relate to other people, which includes being able to express and control emotions. Examples: smiling spontaneously or in response to other people’s smiles, making gestures or sounds to communicate or ask for help (in older children).
- Speech and language skills: These are related to the ability of the child to understand language and to express themselves verbally. The emergence of these skills in babies is seen in babbling and older kids show the skills development by using words correctly and understanding what is said to them.
- Cognitive (or thinking) skills: This is the ability to think, learn and solve problems. It starts with the curiosity in the babies, who explore the world around them with their eyes, ears and hands. It develops in learning the names of the objects and actions in everyday life, naming colors and shapes, figuring out how to reach a toy on a shelf, using a stool and so on.
- Activities of daily living: That includes kids feeding, dressing and bathing themselves, as well as potty training, washing hands, being able to clean up their toys and so on.
NB! We talk about GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTAL DELAY when a child has delays in at least two of the above areas.
HOW TO KNOW WHETHER A CHILD HAS A DEVELOPMENTAL DELAY OR THEY ARE JUST TEMPORARILY LAGGING BEHIND:
Typical development doesn’t mean developing skills on a strict timetable. It is normal for a baby to start walking either at 9 or at 15 months. If your kid has a short-lived delay in some skill, it is usually no cause for concern. He or she will catch up on their own. On the other hand, if your kid is continually behind doing things other kids their age can, it is advisable to talk to your pediatrician, who may refer you to a child neurologist or a child psychiatrist. For example, if your baby isn’t walking by almost 18 months, he or she may be just behind. But if they are also not able to crawl or stand up, that’s a sure sign of a developmental delay in motor skills.
CAUSES OF DEVELOPMENTAL DELAY:
Often it is impossible to find any cause of the developmental delay. Some genetic conditions (such as Down syndrome and fragile X syndrome), a cleft palate or other inborn problems do cause delays. Among the risk factors are also: fetal alcohol syndrome, caused by a mother drinking alcohol during pregnancy; complications at birth, as being born prematurely or with low birth weight or not getting enough oxygen at birth; severe medical problems developing soon after birth; lead poisoning; poor nutrition, etc.
If you have any doubts that your baby or child is not simply slow at developing but may have a real developmental delay, do not hesitate to share this worry with your child’s pediatrician. The earlier the intervention, the sooner your child will be helped to catch up without any further consequences for their development.
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT DEVELOPMENTAL PROBLEMS
BONITATIS site does not intend to provide neither a comprehensive view on all developmental disorders, nor detailed information about every one of them. It does aim, though, at letting the public know about the newest and not widely known yet but very effective shared therapies and treatments for those disorders. Moreover, BONITATIS aspires to make them available to Bulgarian children.
WHY SHARED THERAPIES AND TREATMENTS?
It is no news that Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD), Dyslexia and Dyspraxia considerably overlap. Approximately half of the dyslectic children are dyspraxic too and about 30% of children diagnosed with ADHD have dyslexia. Many autistic children are hyperactive and have dyspraxia and dyslexia. A good number of children, diagnosed earlier with ADHD, after a year or two, receive the diagnosis of autism.
No doubt, more research must be done, but there is enough evidence, by now, that almost all the children with the above-mentioned conditions share similar learning difficulties and at least two serious physical problems – digestive abnormalities and neuro-developmental delay. It is beyond the scope of BONITATIS to join the discussion whether the latter are part of the cause of the disorders or their co morbidities. The important thing to have in mind is that the children with all these disorders get better on an appropriate nutritional protocol and a specialized exercise program, aimed at overcoming the neuro-developmental delay. BONITATIS strongly supports the combination of both strategies as part of an even more holistic approach.