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Recognizing Developmental Delays in Children

Vision Developmental Delays in Children

Until 6 months, a newborn's vision is normally blurry. Then it improves as the child begins to coordinate sight in both eyes. However, sometimes this does not happen or other vision problems show up.

Possible causes of vision delays. Refractive errors, such as nearsightedness and farsightedness, are common in children. Other eye problems include:

  • amblyopia (lazy eye), poor vision in one eye
  • infantile cataracts -- a clouding of the eye's lens -- or another inherited problem (these problems are rare)
  • retinopathy of prematurity, an eye disease that sometimes affects premature infants
  • strabismus -- also called cross eyed -- eyes that turn in, out, up, or down

Types of treatment for vision delays. Early treatment can help correct many vision problems. Depending on the eye problem your child has, he or she may need: 

  • glasses or contacts
  • special glasses
  • surgery
  • an eye patch

Warning signs of vision problems. Contact your child's doctor if your child has any of the following signs at the age that’s indicated. In addition, watch for any loss of skills that have already been learned.

By 3 months, contact the doctor if your child:

  • does not follow moving objects with his or her eyes
  • does not notice hands (by 2 months)
  • has trouble moving one or both eyes in all directions
  • crosses eyes most of the time

By 6 months, contact the doctor if your child:

  • has one or both eyes turning in or out all the time
  • experiences constant tearing, eye drainage, or sensitivity to light
  • does not follow near objects (1 foot away) or far objects (6 feet away) with both eyes

If your child's doctor notes any problems, the doctor may refer your child to an ophthalmologist for further evaluation.

Motor Skill Developmental Delays in Children

Developmental delays may be related to problems with gross motor skills, such as crawling or walking, or fine motor skills, such as using fingers to grasp a spoon.

Possible causes of motor skill delays. Children who are born prematurely may not develop muscles at the same rate as other children.

Children who have been institutionalized, lacked stimulation at young ages, or have autism may have sensory integration dysfunction, a diagnosis questioned by the American Academy of Pediatrics. This complex disorder has been thought to cause a variety of problems with the senses, including:

  • extreme reactions to touch, textures, or pain
  • fearful reactions to ordinary movements or an excessive need to seek out sensory input such as, for example, by rocking, spinning, or hand-flapping
  • problems planning and coordinating movement

Other possible causes of motor delays include:

  • ataxia, a genetic defect that impairs muscle coordination
  • cerebral palsy, a condition caused by brain damage near the time of birth
  • cognitive delays
  • myopathy, a disease of the muscles
  • problems with vision
  • spina bifida, a genetic condition causing partial or total paralysis of the lower part of the body

WebMD Medical Reference

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