Evaluation and Diagnosis
Is Your Child Developmentally Delayed or a Late Bloomer?
Have you ever wondered about your child’s development?
I am sure most of you would say, yes! Your friend’s daughter engages in conversation using sentences and your child is still using single words. At the park, your child struggles with the playground equipment, while others appear to be natural athletes. Or, you remember that your other children developed certain skills earlier and question if your youngest child is delayed.
You ask your mother and she says, “You were the same way as a child, clumsy and not the most athletic”. You ask your neighbor and she says “My son did not talk until the age of 4 and now look at him, he is a doctor!”
While you are a bit reassured, you still experience a nagging feeling that maybe you should dig deeper.
Trust your instincts.. You know your child best.
All kids follow the same developmental norms, but don’t necessarily achieve them at the same time. It is also not unusual for children to develop faster in one area of their development than in another area.
A developmental delay is when a child does not reach developmental milestones within the range of what is considered normal. The delay might be in one or more areas such as communication/language (e.g. understanding language, talking), motor (e.g. walking, grasping/manipulating objects) or social skills (e.g. eye contact, playing with peers).
What can you do?
So, now that you have decided to look further, you can:
- Check with your child’s pediatrician
- Ask your child’s teacher for their observations about your child’s development
- Check out developmental milestones and checklists online to learn more about what to expect
After weighing all the information, you will either feel more reassured that your child is on target or just a late bloomer, or you may have more concerns.
If you are still concerned, you should contact a specialist such as an occupational, physical or speech-language therapist that can discuss your child’s development and determine if there is a need for an assessment. When a child shows delays across more than one area of their development, it is better to go ahead and seek professional advice.
Most delays are not serious and early intervention is a sure way to help your child catch up.