Developmental Delay: Everything You Need to Know

It refers to a broad category of issues covering the inability of a child to meet pre-specified milestones (such as movement and speech milestones) at certain periods. Although kids with such developmental issues might still succeed, it is significantly harder for them, and they often require extra aid from instructors who believe in their potentials. As such, educators need to conduct extensive research to find out how to help such children succeed academically.

Developmental delay can be caused by different factors, including premature birth, complications during pregnancy, and heredity. However, the exact cause isn’t always known.

Some common types of developmental delays include the following:

Cognitive delays: Cognitive delays may impact a kid’s intellectual functioning, interfering with awareness and triggering learning difficulties that often become noticeable after the child begins school. Kids with cognitive delays may also have difficulty playing and communicating with others. This kind of delay may occur in kids who’ve experienced a brain injury because of an infection, such as meningitis, that can cause swelling in the brain. Seizure disorders, chromosomal disorders, and shaken body syndrome that affect intellectual development may also elevate the risk of a cognitive delay.

Motor delays: These delays interfere with a kid’s ability to coordinate large muscle groups like those in the legs and arms and smaller muscles like those in the hands. Infants with gross motor delays might have difficulty crawling or rolling over. Older children with this kind of delay may have difficulty walking up and down stairs or seem clumsy. Children with fine motor delays might have difficulty doing tasks such as brushing teeth or tying shoes, or holding onto small objects like toys. Some motor delays are caused by genetic conditions such as achondroplasia that causes shortening of the limbs and conditions that impact the muscles, such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy.

Speech delays: Receptive language disorders cause some speech delays, in which a kid has difficulty understanding concepts or words. Kids with this kind of speech delay might have trouble identifying shapes, colors, or body parts. Other speech delays are expressive language disorders, in which kids have a reduced vocabulary of words and complex sentences for their age. A kid with this kind of speech delay may be slow to talk, babble, and create sentences. Kids with an oral motor problem, such as difficulty moving the jaw or tongue or weakness in the muscles of the mouth that interferes with speech production, have what’s known as a speech production disorder. Kids may have speech delays because of physiological causes, such as hearing loss, genetic syndromes, or brain damage. Other speech delays are triggered by environmental factors like a lack of stimulation.

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