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How to deal with developmental delays

How to deal with developmental delays

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Your dear little one may be showing signs of delayed development. There may be a lot of factors causing it and there are different kinds of developmental delays in babies. There’s a lot you can do to identify it and give it the attention it needs.

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

Different babies grow differently.

Babies do not develop mentally or physically in a uniform manner. Different babies have different patterns of both their mental and physical development. A baby’s rate of development is as unique as her finger print. Each baby takes her own time growing up. Some babies may grow a little faster than others and some may take their own sweet little time. Also certain skills develop faster than others. That is hardly something to sweat about. A number of factors such as your baby’s genetic history determine how she develops. Babies usually take from how their parents or relatives have grown up as babies. Other factors like environment and nutrition also play an important role in your little one’s development. How she grows depends on a mixture of these factors and not on one specific thing. 

What are developmental delays?

There may however be a small number of babies who may be unusually advanced for their age, both in terms of their motor and intellectual skills. While on the other hand, there may be babies who are much slower than the rest in acquiring skills. This is a case of developmental delay.

Symptoms of developmental delays.

Your baby may have special needs due to developmental delays. The important thing is to identify the symptoms. And if you think she needs help, do not get upset about it. Remember, you need to be supportive of your little one and help her as best as you can.

Delayed awareness of limbs. Normally, babies become aware of their hands and legs by the time they are 6-8 weeks old. They respond to their limbs and begin playing around. By the time they are 12-16 weeks old, babies begin to stare at their hands and move their fingers. In developmentally delayed babies, this entire process may be pushed to as late as 20 weeks.

Slobbering beyond 18 months. Babies usually grow out of their slobbering by the time they are a year old. A developmentally delayed baby may continue to dribble well after her 18th month.

Speech issues. Developmentally delayed babies may suffer from speech disabilities. It may delay their ability to speak to as late as 2 ½ years.

Problems in communication. You need to pay attention if you find your baby is unable to communicate with people around her, as best as she can be communicating at her age.

Repetition in habits. Your little one may be repeating herself in her routines and habits too often and beyond the normal age. For instance, she may be asking the same question again and again.

Restless and hyperactive. Your little darling may be extremely restless with a very short span of attention. This is true for most growing babies, but a developmentally delayed baby has a surprisingly short attention span.

Steps to tackle developmental delays.

If your baby is developmentally delayed, the most important thing is to diagnose it soon enough and take the necessary steps. Otherwise, physiological problems such as partial deafness or blindness may occur.

A quick diagnosis helps your pediatrician or clinical psychologist find out if your baby is suffering from a mild developmental delay or something as serious as autism.

Be patient with her. Your baby may be developmentally delayed and may need some special attention. But remember not to smother her and make her feel different.

Consult your pediatrician. Your pediatrician is able to diagnose the severity of your baby’s problem. You may also need the help of a clinical psychologist, but leave it to your pediatrician to suggest the best possible step to be taken.

Encourage the young one to be more active. Read aloud to her, speak to her more often, play with her, and introduce her to new kinds of things and new people. This helps her overcome shyness and helps her in her social as well as motor skills.

Boost the young one’s imagination. Encourage her to participate in activities that boosts her imagination, such as games, reading colorful books, drawing etc.

Reward for the efforts. Shower your baby’s efforts with praise and affection. You need to be patient with her. Try not to punish her or be disappointed with her slow learning. It only discourages and upsets her further.

Patience is the key. You need a lot of patience if your little one is suffering from developmental delays. It may come as a blow to all your dreams, but remember, your baby is having a far worse time amidst other babies who have moved ahead. Encourage her, but do not force her and be patient with her slow and gradual learning. 

Developmental delays are normal, though unfortunate. There is nothing to panic or feel sad about it. Understanding the situation and acting accordingly solves the issues and helps your little one grow up to be a normal kid.

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