There is a wide gap in the number of children who have developmental delays and those who are screened and identified. This means, that many children with developmental delays are not identified at the earliest nor do they benefit from early intervention.
Children grow rapidly in the first few years of life, achieving many physical, social, behavioural and emotional milestones as they grow. Although each child develops at their own unique pace, these milestones help us understand what changes and growth to expect around rough timelines of child development. These can be milestones such as developing eye contact, rolling over, responding to the caregiver and learning to walk or speak.
Milestones provide a predictable pattern of development. However, for various reasons, some children have substantial delays in reaching these milestones and these are identified as developmental delays. By closely monitoring a child’s development, parents can identify “red flags” when the child shows considerable delays in achieving certain skills. A child with a developmental delay won’t grow out of it or catch up on their own, but with timely and correct intervention, they can make significant progress.
Developmental screening refers to identifying any developmental delays and challenges that your child may have by using some tests and understanding your child’s developmental history. These include screening programs for Autism, ADHD, Learning disabilities, Global developmental delays, speech and language problems etc.
Screening will include a thorough assessment across areas of developmental, like physical milestones, emotional, social, behavioural skills, cognitive abilities, fine and gross motor skills and speech and language development.
Inputs from parents and caregivers of the child, especially in providing an accurate developmental history of the child is important in getting accurate results.
Symptoms and signs of many developmental delays can be identified in children at a very young age. When children are screened for developmental delays at the earliest, they can get help at the earliest against letting their gaps in development widen while losing critical time. Children develop and adapt at a rapid pace in the first few years of life. Early screening and intervention can change the course of development, help them catch up with their peers and give the child a better chance at reaching their full potential.
Developmental screening can also help parents understand their child’s strengths and identify areas they need help with. When you understand your child better, you can support them better. This might include adapting the environment to suit their needs, modifying learning methods to interest your child and identifying the type of therapy and support they need to achieve their full potential.
Sometimes, even though children show signs of delays, early on, they are identified and given help only after they start formal schooling when the gaps in their development become more obvious. This way, the child loses out on bridging those gaps early on. School can become a challenging environment as they have not developed the right skills. With early intervention children can be better prepared for school, continuing education and living independently as they grow older.
If you suspect your child has delays in their development, do not panic. Talk to your child’s doctor. They can help you understand what to do about it. You can also reach out to a child specialist who can conduct developmental screening for your child. When children are screened properly, they can proceed to early intervention that can bring about far better outcomes.
Early detection and intervention can bring about a better prognosis for the child. If you have concerns about your child’s development, do not hesitate to reach out for help. Our Specialists at Tactopus can help put your concerns to rest.