How To Spot A Delay In Your Baby’s Development And What To Do About It
Every mother keeps a keen eye on her baby for any deviations from the normal, and it is not uncommon to quickly become a neurotic lunatic. Much to the annoyance of your pediatrician, you may find yourself rushing your precious bundle of joy to the hospital every time you notice the slightest change. That’s okay, but with time every mum learns to tell the difference between those minor, insignificant changes and the major ones that may be a concern. The latter includes delays in the baby’s development.
WHAT IS A DEVELOPMENTAL DELAY?
This can basically be explained as when the baby is missing some very critical milestones and does not acquire skills appropriate to their age. While we are made to understand that every child is different and may not follow the same developmental path as others, it may be unsettling to watch your child miss such essential milestones, especially when you are comparing them to their older siblings or other children.
You will find yourself watching their every move and worrying yourself sick about it, wondering whether it could be what you think it is and what to do about it.
HOW DO I KNOW THAT MY BABY HAS A DEVELOPMENTAL DELAY?
- Delays in their motor skills
Motor skills are broadly characterized as fine such as using a crayon to color a drawing or even holding a pencil and gross which involves larger movements such as jumping or walking.
On average, babies should be able to lift their head by the third month after birth, sit upright by the sixth month, walk well before they are two and ride bicycles by their fifth birthdays.
Symptoms of developmental delays in motor skills include:
- The baby is unable to sit without proper support by the ninth month
- Can barely stand up by their first birthday
- Stiffness in their limbs
- Weak or flailing arms and legs
- More involuntary than voluntary reflexes
- Speech and language
The first three years should be spent in learning speech and language. The learning curve follows this order:
- Newborn – communicate hunger by crying
- Six months – recognize basic sounds in mother’s language
- 12-15 months – utter few simple or unrecognizable words
- At 3 – speak in short sentences
- Autism spectral disorders
Autism affects the child’s ability to communicate with others and is usually quite obvious. Other times it may start being noticed at the second or third years. Symptoms include:
- The child is unable to respond to their name
- Anti-social behavior such as resistance to cuddling and interacting with other children
- Difficulty speaking and remembering things
- No or limited facial expressions
- Repetitive movements
- Problems with coordination
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I SUSPECT DEVELOPMENTAL DELAYS?
Once you notice these or similar symptoms in your baby, be sure to reach out to the doctor and confirm your suspicions. Sometimes, such as in the case of autism, there may not be a cure, but early intervention may improve the situation altogether.
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