A developmental delay is more than being a little behind. If you are a parent and you find yourself saying, “Shouldn’t he be rolling over by now?” or “Shouldn’t she be talking now?” this isn’t always a sign that your child has a developmental delay. Parents can often have a skewed perspective when it comes to assessing their child’s development in relation to common milestones. If you fear that your child may have a developmental delay, seek a professional assessment and consult with an occupational therapist. Early detection and intervention are key!

To help you better understand this subject, we at FUNctionabilities would like to share some information regarding developmental delays and child development. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule an appointment with one of our pediatric therapy specialists. Not only do we have a committed team of pediatric speech and occupational therapists, but we have also created a truly unique sensory-rich environment that is designed to help kids learn to play and play to learn.

Developmental Delay Overview

Kids do not develop at the same time nor does their growth adhere to a strict timetable. For example, though some babies may begin walking at nine months, others may not start scooting around until 15 months, and, professionally speaking, both of these children are not considered to have a developmental delay. However, on the other hand, if your four-month-old child is unable to roll over and also is unable to hold his or her head up, this may be a sign that there is a motor skill delay. This is all to say, developmental delays can be hard to diagnose, and they are more than just slow development—it’s more about being continually behind in a skill. If you are concerned about your child’s development, it’s imperative to get a professional evaluation to get a better sense of what is truly going on.

Developmental Delay vs. Developmental Disability

Although some people will use the two terms interchangeably, they are different. Developmental delays are often short-term issues that can be overcome with early detection, intervention, and therapy. For example, a child may have a speech delay after experiencing hearing loss from an ear infection. However, unlike this example, not all developmental delays have clear origins. But with many delays, early intervention—via occupational therapy, speech therapy, and feeding therapy—can help kids catch up to their peers. At FUNctionabilities, we specialize in pediatric therapies, and we have a range of services designed to help kids live a healthy, productive life.

A developmental disability, on the other hand, is a condition that kids do not outgrow. Though they can make progress and reduce the severity of the disability, they can never fully catch up. Developmental disabilities are not the same as learning disabilities, but they can make learning much harder. Autism, Down syndrome, and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are all among common developmental disabilities.

Overcoming Developmental Delays

As we’ve mentioned, the key to improving child development is early detection and intervention. One key way in which parents can help their kids improve is through pediatric occupational therapy. At FUNctionabilities, we specialize in providing this service. Our team of pediatric therapists uses evidenced-based strategies to foster child development. We specifically focus on improving the following areas of development:

  • Cognitive skills—In children, these are the skills they use to explore and come to understand the world around them. It’s their ability to think, learn, and solve problems using their eyes, ears, and hands.
  • Social and emotional skills—This is the ability to control emotions and relate to other people. In babies, it’s the ability to smile, make sounds, and communicate with others.  
  • Motor skills—Motors skills are the small muscles (fine motor) and large muscles (gross motor) you use to move and interact with objects. For babies, this is the ability to sit up, roll, and start to walk. With older kids, this is having the capacity to jump, run, climb, and control their bodies.
  • Daily activities—This is the capacity to conquer everyday tasks, like eating, dressing, bathing, and any other daily routines.
  • Speech and language skills—This is the ability to communicate and understand language. For babies, this includes cooing and babbling.

At FUNctionabilities we have created a sensory-rich environment that is tailored toward helping children improve in these areas. In addition to occupational therapy, we also offer feeding therapy, speech therapy, and massage therapy. Contact us today to learn more!