Raising children is no mean feat. Notwithstanding the cumbersome journey of having a baby, the economic impact of children, the physical fatigue of keeping up with children, there is also the important part of ensuring that the development of children is on correct track.
Development entails that the physical growth of children is as per usual. Their height, weight, sense etc. are some indicators. Moreover, children also are developing essential skills like sight, movement, language etc.
Parents also need to be on top of these matters and ensure that children were able to meet these milestones. The best way for the parents to make sure that the growth trajectory of their child is as per the norm is by discussing with their Child specialist in Lahore, as a layperson is not aware of the multiple aspects of the complicated process of development.
Types of development skills and their delays
Motor skills refer to the use of muscles by the babies. Fine motor skills refer to the smaller movements, like holding a thing. Gross motor skills refer to bigger movements like jumping, walking etc.
Initially, gross motor skills start off from baby holding their held up by 3 months, followed by sitting by the time they turn 6 months old, walking before they turn 2 years old. Failure to meet these milestones might be a sign of development delay.
Causes behind delay include condition like ataxia, in which muscle coordination is impaired, and myopathy. Some children have spina bifida, which can result in paralysis of the lower limbs. Likewise, cerebral palsy can also affect motor skills.
Issues with vision and cognition can also lead to delays in motor skill development.
Speech and language skills
Of the most common form of development delays in children is the problem of speech. It includes inability or issues with verbal articulation, including issues with linguistics in toddlers and older children.
Furthermore, children with speech skills are also unable to properly understand language as well. Delays with speech maybe due to a learning disability. It can also be because child is exposed to multiple language.
Similarly, autism also causes speech delays in children. Hearing impairment is another reason behind speech delays.
Dysarthria, a disorder with the muscles controlling speech, can also lead to speech and language delays.
Unfortunately, at times, it might be that there is not probable cause behind the delay.
We, as adults, might not realize it, but vision is also an acquired skill. Our body develops it over time. In children, up to 6 months, vision is blurry, and it improves over time. However, in certain cases, the visual skills might be subject to delays as well.
There are several reasons behind the delays. Refractive errors might be cause of development delay, whereas in other cases, disorders like amblyopia –commonly known as lazy eye—may be behind it as well.
Some children also suffer from Strabismus or cross-eyes. Eye disease that generally afflicts premature babies, Retinopathy of Prematurity, can also lead to vision development delays.
Social, behavioral and emotional skills
Social skills in children are also important part of their development. It includes expression of emotions like smiling at a person in babies, whereas toddlers have a more sophisticated articulation of emotions.
Their emotional skills include asking for help, saying that they are angry, expressing their happiness. Social skills include group activities and sports, sharing things etc.
However, these skills can also be subject delays. At times, neglect from the family is to be blamed. In other cases, children suffer from conditions like autism that affects their social skills. Cognitive issues, and poor parenting also contribute towards impaired social skills.
Cognitive skills refer to problem solving, learning and thinking abilities. These skills allow kids to register and understand the world around them. In toddlers, it also includes skills like counting, color and shape recognition, alphabets etc.
These cognitive skills can be delayed on account of various factors like genetic defects, learning disabilities, autism, exposure to toxins, conditions like Down’s Syndrome etc. Medical complications at birth can also lead to cognitive delay. However, at times, there might not be any probable cause of the delay.
Risk factors for development delays
While there can be unexplained reasons behind the delays, however, some babies are at risk of development delays.
Premature babies, those with low birth weight, those part of multiple births are at risk of suffering from delays. Mothers who were exposed to toxins, took drugs or alcohol during pregnancy, suffered from infections are very likely to give birth to babies who have developmental issues.
Children with autistic siblings have a higher risk of developmental delays as well.
Considering the various facets that need to be considered to gauge development delays, parents can get overwhelmed with the onslaught of information and making sure that their child is meeting the milestones.
Developmental screening thus is a convenient and viable option in which experts look over the babies and ensure that their development is as per the norm.
The examination is non-invasive and is more often based on questionnaire which helps timely diagnosis of the development issues. When delays are not realized well within time, child has to suffer unduly, and that might have repercussions on the quality of their life.
Thus, parents should consult with their Child specialist in Islamabad during the growth process of their children, so that they can be given care that can allow for them to reach their full potential, despite the delay.