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Recognizing Developmental Delays in Children

Motor Skill Developmental Delays in Children continued...

By 7 months, contact the doctor if your child:

  • has stiff and tight or very floppy muscles
  • flops his or her head when pulled into a sitting position
  • reaches with one hand only or does not actively reach for objects
  • has trouble getting objects to his or her mouth
  • doesn't roll over in either direction (by 5 months)
  • cannot sit up without help (by 6 months)
  • does not bear weight on his or her legs when you pull him or her up to a standing position

By 1 year, contact the doctor if your child:

  • does not crawl
  • drags one side of his or her body while crawling
  • cannot stand when supported

By 2 years, contact the doctor if your child:

  • cannot walk (by 18 months)
  • does not develop a heel-to-toe walking pattern or walks only on toes
  • cannot push a wheeled toy

Social and Emotional Developmental Delays in Children

Children may experience problems interacting with adults or other children, called social and/or emotional developmental delays. Usually these problems show up before a child begins school.

Possible causes. Some causes of social and emotional delays include:

  • neglect from early institutionalization or parental neglect
  • ineffective parenting or attachment problems
  • cognitive delays
  • an unknown cause

Another common cause of social and emotional developmental delays was referred to as pervasive developmental disorder (PDD). This group, now under the umbrella of "autism spectrum disorders" also causes communication problems ranging from mild to severe. PDD includes:

Types of treatment. There is no known cure for these conditions. However, treatment may include:

  • special types of behavioral and skill-oriented therapy
  • medication may help some problematic behaviors

As with most types of delays, early treatment can make a big difference in the progress your child makes. Depending upon the diagnosis, treatment may also include play therapy or steps to aid attachment between parent and child.

Warning signs of social or emotional delays. 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.

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