Because every child grows and develops at a different pace, developmental delays can be hard to identify. However, if your child is continually behind in a skill or area, this may be a sign of developmental delay.

What Is Developmental Delay?

Developmental delay is when your child does not reach their developmental milestones at the expected time. If your child is temporarily lagging behind, this is not necessarily a developmental delay. Rather, a delay is an ongoing holdup in the process of development that can be overcome with early detection, intervention, and therapy.

Developmental Delay vs. Developmental Disability

Though the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they are, in fact, quite different. Developmental delays are short-term issues that can be alleviated with the help of therapy. Developmental disabilities, on the other hand, cannot be outgrown—though the severity can be reduced. Autism, Down syndrome, and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are common developmental disabilities.

Signs of Developmental Delay

If you notice any of the following signs at the age that is indicated, this may signal that your child has a developmental delay. Since early detection and intervention is key, it is paramount to contact your child’s doctor for a professional evaluation.

Language and Speech  

  • 3 to 4 months

    • Does not respond to loud noise
    • Unable to babble
    • Does not attempt to imitate sounds
  • 7 months

    • Does not respond to sounds
  • 1 year

    • Unable to say a single word—e.g. ”mama” or  “dada”
  • 2 years

    • Unable to speak at least 15 words
    • Only uses speech to communicate immediate needs
    • Can only imitate speech

 Motor Skills and Movement

  • 3 to 4 months

    • Does not reach for objects
    • Cannot support head
    • Does not bring objects to mouth
  • 7 months

    • Flops head when placed in sitting position
    • Has stiff, tight, or abnormal muscles
    • Does not reach for objects
    • Unable to sit up
  • 1 year

    • Cannot crawl
    • Drags one side of body while crawling
    • Cannot stand even with support
  • 2 years

    • Unable to walk
    • Walks only on toes
    • Cannot push a wheeled toy

Social Skills and Emotions

  • 3 months

    • Does not smile at people
    • Has no interest in new faces or is frightened by them
  • 7 months

    • Does not show signs of affection
    • Turns away from cuddling
    • Shows no enjoyment from being around people
    • Displays no interests in games like peek-a-boo
    • Does not laugh and rarely smiles
  • 1 year

    • Unable to express reciprocal gestures like waving and pointing
    • Does not exchange sounds, smiles, or facial expressions

Cognitive Skills and Thinking

  • 1 year

    • Refuses to search for objects that have been hidden
    • Does not use gestures and physical expressions
    • Cannot point to pictures or objects
  • 2 years

    • Cannot determine the function of common, everyday objects
    • Unable to follow simple instructions
    • Does not imitate words, actions, or expressions

Overcoming Developmental Delays

If you think your child is showing signs of a developmental delay, it is important to immediately seek a professional assessment and evaluation. Early detection and intervention are key!

At FUNctionabilities we address developmental delays through the following skill-oriented therapies:

Through these therapies, we are able to address the following areas of a child’s development:

  • Social skills
  • Play skills
  • Attention
  • Imitation
  • Sensory sensitivity
  • Fine and gross motor skills
  • Cognitive skills
  • Daily living skills
  • And more

At FUNctionabilities we have created a sensory-rich environment that is tailored toward helping children overcome developmental delays. Utilizing our evidence-based therapies and methods, we strive to create a stress-free, empowering environment that makes life for your child easier. We make therapy fun so your child is “Learning to Play” and “Playing to Learn.” Contact us today to learn more or to schedule an evaluation!