How to Determine Developmental Delays in Your Children

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Every mother hopes to see her child progress along the expected path. Though some children may take longer to develop speech or motor skills than others, it is usually no cause for concern. However, if you feel that your child is significantly behind the other children her age, you should take note. Look for some of the signs of developmental delays in your child and discuss them with her pediatrician. Early intervention can help her achieve her full potential.

Step 1

Talk to your child. Even as a baby, he should look at you when you are talking. By the time he’s a 1-year-old, he should be cooing back at you, imitating a conversation, though you may not be able to understand what he’s saying. If he’s not responding, there may be speech and language delays.

Step 2

Watch the way your child walks. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a child should be walking by the time she is 18 months old. However, you should be concerned if she doesn’t start to walk with a normal heel-toe motion after a few months of walking.

Step 3

Give your child commands. Children older than 1 year should be able to follow simple commands, like giving you a toy or clapping hands.

Step 4

Test your child’s hearing. Often, hearing problems or an ear infection can cause speech and language delays. Correcting this — by using a hearing aid or learning sign language — can help your child to learn how to communicate quickly.

Step 5

Refer to the “Ages and Stages” questionnaire. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers developmental guidelines at each age level. Your pediatrician probably gives you a questionnaire during well-child visits.

Step 6

Discuss any concerns with your doctor. You may be worrying over nothing. The doctor will be able to give you advice about whether your child seems to be experiencing developmental delays and give you any warning signs that you should look out for.

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