Developmental Delay: Identifying It and Dealing With It

Global Developmental delay is a term used to describe any delay in development that has a wide range of causes. Some such delays are caused by genetics. Other causes are related to immunological conditions or infectious agents such as measles and rubella. Still others are due to nutrient deficiencies or environmental toxins.

Some global developmental delays have a clear identifying cause. For example, Rubella is linked to several cases of autism in the young age range. However, for others, the cause of their delayed development, or multiple developmental delays, remains unclear. This kind of delayed development can occur in children that have had a head injury caused by an infection, like meningitis, that will cause inflammation in the brain called encephalitis.
How is global developmental delay diagnosed? The most accurate way to determine a child’s development delay is through careful observation of the child’s behavior at home, at school, and in the community. A qualified developmental pediatrician should be involved in this process. The pediatrician will review the child’s documentation and perform a thorough physical examination. He/she will ask specific questions about the child’s comprehension, motor skills, attention span, and memory. The evaluation will also seek to find out if the delays are being caused by health problems such as birth defects or chromosomal abnormality, and whether the disabilities are consistent with normal development for the given age group.
Once the doctor has gathered all of the information he/she needs, they will develop a treatment plan to meet the specific needs of your child. If you are not an insurance provider, your local school district can refer you to a disability services provider. In many instances, your local school district will provide you with support in paying for the developmental screening and treatment you need. Some developmental screenings and treatments may be covered by your health insurance, but you should check with your health insurance provider to make sure. The screening and treatment recommended by your doctor will result in a customized educational program to address your child’s unique needs.
Even if you or your child have one or more of the developmental delays described above, an early intervention specialist can help you and your family understand and overcome the challenges ahead. With early intervention, parents can learn to develop skills needed to overcome these delays. Parents who wait to identify and express their concerns about potential developmental delays may not be able to complete this crucial task. Early intervention is key to helping you and your family understand and overcome these challenges, so that your little one is not left behind.
The developmental delay prevention and treatment of your child is a very important task. Don’t put off implementing an intervention plan. If you suspect there is a problem, don’t delay seeing your doctor, but don’t hesitate to get help even if you think you don’t need it. An experienced specialist can help you work with the medical community to develop an intervention plan to address your child’s specific needs. Your child’s very real and pressing needs are simply not minor ones.

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