Developmental Delay & Milestones

Developmental Delay: A developmental delay is any significant lag in a child's physical, cognitive, behavioral, emotional, or social development, in comparison with norms. The term developmental delay refers to when a child does not achieve developmental milestones within the normal age range.

Developmental delay is usually initially noticed by parents or health visitors, and will then need to be assessed in order to ascertain which milestones they are missing. The child may only be delayed in one area of development, such as gross or fine motor, or in more than one.

Developmental screening can be done by a trained healthcare professional, in which they will play with the child to see how they speak, move, and respond. If this indicates a delay, the child should then be assessed with a developmental evaluation, done by a highly trained professional such as a developmental psychologist or paediatrician, or a paediatric neurologist.

The specific management of children with global developmental delay will depend on their individual needs and underlying diagnosis. Early intervention is essential to support the child to reach their full potential. Specialists involved in the management of GDD in children includes:

· Speech therapists

· Physical therapists

· Occupational therapists

· Hearing specialists

· Developmental paediatricians

· Neurologists

· Providers of Early Intervention Services (depending on location)

As well as involving professionals, parents can support the development of their child by playing with them, reading with them, showing them how to do tasks, and supporting them to participate in activities of daily living such as washing, dressing, and eating.

Cause of Developmental Delay:

The primary cause for developmental delays in school-aged children is genetic abnormalities. For example, phenylketonuria (PKU) is a single-gene disorder also referred to as an “inborn error of metabolism.”

Some of the most common known causes of intellectual disability include fetal alcohol syndrome; genetic and chromosomal conditions, such as Down syndrome and fragile X syndrome; and certain infections during pregnancy.