About developmental delays
A child is considered to have a developmental delay when they are behind in the achievement of one or more developmental milestones.
We know that as a child develops, he or she passes through developmental milestones, such as babbling, imitating sounds made by others, using one word and speaking in sentences. Developmental delay occurs when a child has not reached these milestones by the expected time period e.g. if a two year old has not begun requesting in one or two word sentences for a few things they really like and want,then this would be considered a developmental delay.
It is important to note that there is a variance in when children meet milestones, but it is always recommended that if you have any concerns or are seeing behavioural issues as well as delayed milestones, such as frequent crying, screeching or tantrums that you contact a professional.
Keep in mind,that having a developmental delay does not necessarily mean your child will require a diagnosis or will have life-long struggles. It may simply mean that they need specialized teaching. If problems are addressed quickly, you can greatly reduce the intensity and duration of intervention that will be required.
There are a number of different types of developmental delay.
Pervasive developmental delays are to do with delays to a child’s communication and social skills. Autism and Autistic Spectrum Disorders are the best known pervasive developmental disorders.
A Global Developmental Delay means that a child has delays across all areas of development.
Degenerative Disorders is when a child appears typically developing at birth, but then loses skills or functions over time.
Developmental disorders are often diagnosed in infancy or early childhood and affect many aspects of a child’s life including cognitive skills and behaviour, as well as the ability to communicate and socialise.
The symptoms can vary hugely from child to child – and for children who are very mildly affected symptoms may get missed.
Some warning signs to look out for are :
- Is your child able to ask for the things that they want or do they simply point and make gestures toward the things they want?
- Does your child engage in frequent tantrums and inappropriate sounds such as screeching?
- Does your child engage in meaningful play or are they constantly “on the go”?
Helping your child with a developmental delay
NETwork Interventions has years of experience helping children with developmental delays. One of the most successful approaches in helping children with developmental delays is Verbal Behaviour which focuses on the development of language and communication skills.
A Verbal Behaviour programme will be designed to address your child’s unique needs and skill set, and will incorporate non-verbal communication, as well as spoken language development. The language and communication skills will be taught to your child’s interests and motivations, making a programme as natural as possible – an approach which is called Natural Environment Teaching.
Teaching social skills and communication will reduce your child’s levels of frustration and isolation, and can also prevent the development of acquired conditions frequently associated with developmental delays, including challenging behaviour, depression and sleep problems.
Did you know?
In nearly all of the children we have worked with who have a developmental delay, the exact nature of the delay has never been accurately pinpointed. By identifying the exact form of the delay, a highly effective programme can be designed and implemented for your child.