Children develop at different rates and in different ways. It is important to know the signs of a developmental disability so that you can know if your child has one or not. Developmental disabilities are characterized by deficiencies in socialization, communication skills, and motor skills.
These disabilities affect both children and their parents. If your child is having trouble meeting milestones his or her age like sitting up, crawling, walking, talking etc., they might have a developmental disability that needs to be evaluated by a professional. This article will explore what you need to know about developmental disabilities.
What Is A Developmental Disability?
A developmental disability is a physical, intellectual, or emotional impairment that occurs during the developmental period and usually lasts throughout a person’s lifetime. Developmental disabilities can impact any area of development, including socialization, communication, and motor skills, and day-to-day functioning.
Developmental disabilities affect children of all races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic classes. According to recent estimates in the United States, one out of every six children, or 17% according to the CDC, aged 3 to 17 years has one or more developmental problems, such as autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, ADHD, and many more. According to the Autism Parenting Magazine, autism occurs in 1 in 54 children where boys are 4 times likely to be diagnosed with it. On the other hand, cerebral palsy, as the most common motor disorder in childhood, occurs in 1 in 345 children where preterm or low-weight babies are at a higher risk.
What Causes Developmental Disabilities?
The causes of developmental disabilities are unknown in most cases. However, many developmental disabilities are the result of problems that occur during pregnancy, such as exposure to alcohol, drugs, or infection, genetic disorders, or complications during birth. Cerebral palsy, for example, most often occurs during birth when the baby’s brain and spinal cord are injured. Some developmental disabilities, such as Down syndrome and Fragile X syndrome, are caused by genetic abnormalities. Premature births and low birth weights are also common causes of developmental disabilities.
How Are Developmental Disabilities Diagnosed?
A developmental disability is usually diagnosed by a healthcare professional, such as a pediatrician, pediatric neurologist, or developmental pediatrician, based on a child’s symptoms and development patterns. In addition to doctors, experts of other profiles also have to give their assessment, such as psychologists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, etc.
A variety of tests and evaluations may be used to diagnose a developmental disability, such as genetic testing, blood tests, and neurological exams. However, a child must be at least 3 years old before a diagnosis can be made.
In order to be diagnosed with a developmental disability, a child must have a significant delay in two or more areas of development, compared to other children of the same age.
If you suspect that your child might have a developmental disability, the best thing you can do is talk to your doctor. It is crucial to get a diagnosis as early as possible so that your child can begin receiving the appropriate treatment. For instance, if a parent experiences a noticeable delay or slower development of their child’s speech and language abilities, it is best to consider seeing a pediatric speech therapist.
What Are Developmental Milestones?
There are four main areas of development that are typically evaluated when diagnosing a developmental disability: physical, cognitive, communication, and social-emotional.
Each of these areas has specific milestones that children should achieve at certain ages. A milestone is defined as an event or accomplishment that most children of a particular age can do.
For example, a child should be able to crawl by the time they are nine months old. Also, a child should have its first word by the time they are 12 months old. If a child does not reach these milestones, it might indicate that he or she has a communication disorder or other developmental problems.
However, it is important to remember that milestones are just average ages, and that every child has their own timetable for reaching them. It is very common for some children to reach certain milestones earlier or later than the average age.
Treatment Of Developmental Disabilities
Disabilities like autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, and many more are not diseases, therefore, there’s no cure.
Treatment and therapies are aimed at helping the child achieve their fullest potential. It is important that treatments and therapies are individualized to meet the needs of each child. One treatment does not fit all when it comes to treating developmental disabilities.
Some of the most common treatments include ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) therapy, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and social skills training. Many of these treatments are available through schools or clinics.
What Can You As A Parent Do?
If you suspect that your child might have a developmental disability, the best thing you can do is talk to your doctor. It is important to get a diagnosis as early as possible so that your child can begin receiving the appropriate treatment. For instance, if a parent experiences a noticeable delay or slower development of their child’s speech and language abilities, it is best to consider seeing a pediatric speech therapist.
There are many resources available for parents of children with developmental disabilities, including support groups, services, clinics, and schools.
It’s important that parents cooperate with doctors, therapists, educators, etc. in order for their child to receive the best treatment possible. The earlier a developmental disability is diagnosed or at least suspected, the sooner a child can start therapies that will be more effective in helping him or she develop.
Also, it is important for parents to be advocates for their children. When it comes to education and treatments, parents need to make sure that their child’s needs are being met. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or therapist.
Developmental disabilities are a broad term that includes a wide range of disorders that affect a child’s ability to reach developmental milestones.
There are many different types of developmental disabilities, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD), cerebral palsy, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and many more. If you have a child who is struggling with developmental disabilities, it’s important to get help as soon as possible.
You can start by talking to your doctor and then looking into the many resources that are available for children with these challenges. It’s also imperative that parents cooperate with doctors and therapists in order for their children to receive the best treatments possible.
By getting help early, these conditions can be treated more effectively and lead to improved outcomes.
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of developmental disabilities and what you can do if your child might be affected by one.
Luke Smith says
It’s great that you talked about how it is important that treatments and therapies are individualized to meet the needs of each child. My daughter has been quite healthy, but we couldn’t be so sure nowadays so we’re thinking of going to the doctor next week. Aside from general checkups, we should probably ask for her to be checked for any child development issues.