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The rate at which a child develops essential skills such as gross and fine motor skills, linguistic capabilities, and social abilities varies, but there are certain standards and milestones for parents and educators to identify as children grow. In order to ensure each child develops properly, adults should be sure to keep an eye out for signs of developmental delays. Though many delays may be normal, there are cases when delays can indicate larger issues, so being aware of milestones and common delays is important.

 

Five Areas of Development

For success and health, there are five areas in which children are expected to develop skills. These areas include cognitive skills, social/emotional skills, fine/gross motor skills, speech/language skills, and daily life skills. Each of these areas is essential for optimal function in everyday life, and serious delays in the development of any of these areas can make growth, education, and life in general difficult for young children.

 

Common Causes

There is no one cause of developmental delays, but a few circumstances can contribute to such delays. Birth complications, environmental factors, and certain medical conditions can negatively impact a child’s development. Premature births, as well as low birth weight, can hinder development; similarly, environmental factors such as poor nutrition, high stress, and lead poisoning can hinder the achievement of developmental milestones. Some chronic conditions and early illnesses can also serve as a detriment.

 

Signs

Detecting signs of developmental delays can be tricky, but the basic concept behind such detection requires the acknowledgement and understanding of expected milestones. For instance, speech developmental delays are common in children. Children who, by the age of 3-4 months, do not respond to loud noises, attempt to imitate sounds, or babble may have some significant developmental delays in the area of speech and language. A child who cannot walk without support by the age of 18 months may have a developmental delay in gross motor skills. The key to detecting signs of developmental delays is possessing an understanding of developmental milestones, but if anything seems generally off with a child’s speech, sight, hearing, motor skills, social tendencies, or cognitive ability, it is advised that you consult a doctor for advice.

 

Developmental delays are fairly common, and in most cases, they are not cause for concern. Even so, it is best to be aware of developmental milestones as well as ways you can facilitate proper development throughout a child’s early years. Doing so will help you prevent and detect any developmental delays so that you can properly account for them as the child grows.