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As many of you are already aware, all children development at different rates. Most of the time however, children stay within their developmental margins for their corresponding age. In rare occasions, a child may begin to develop at a slower rate than his/her peers, or even begin to regress, and lose skills they once had. During these times, a developmental delay is often the diagnosis. A developmental delay is often hard to detect. If a child is not being closely monitored, the delay could go unnoticed for quite some time. The older the child gets, the easier it becomes to detect a developmental delay. For younger babies however, it becomes much harder to detect, and therefore becomes extremely important to know exactly what to look for. Choosing quality childcare that uses a childcare software program that tracks child development always provides much assistance when detecting delays as early as possible.
By the end of the first year, act early by talking to your child’s doctor if your child:
- Doesn’t crawl
- Can’t stand when supported
- Doesn’t search for things that she sees you hide
- Doesn’t say single words like “mama” or “dada”
- Doesn’t learn gestures like waving or shaking head
- Doesn’t point to things
- Loses skills he once had
(CDC Milestones 1 year: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/milestones/milestones-1yr.html)
“There is no one cause of developmental delays, but some risk factors include:
- Complications at birth: Being born too early (prematurely); low birth weight; not getting enough oxygen at birth.
- Environmental issues: Lead poisoning; poor nutrition; exposure to alcohol or drugs before birth; difficult family situations; trauma.
- Other medical conditions: Chronic ear infections; vision problems; illnesses, conditions, or injuries that have a significant and long-term effect on a child’s day-to-day activities.
Sometimes parents worry that they might have contributed to their child’s delays. That’s usually not the case. For example, teaching a child more than one language does not lead to speech or language problems. And as one mother shares, even though it can be “heartbreaking” to hear the results of an evaluation, in the end, it’s better to focus on next steps and ways to help.” (https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/treatments-approaches/early-intervention/what-you-need-to-know-about-developmental-delays).
How to Help:
Learn the signs of a developmental delay and act immediately. The more you know about skills to expect at certain ages, the better you’ll be able to spot any lags in development. The earlier you find your child help, the better their developmental outcome. One of the ways to spot these delays earlier is by keeping track of their development from an early age. One way to do this is when choosing childcare for you child, make sure the facility has invested in a quality childcare software program that provides features such as milestone tracking and development journaling. With these helpful tools, developmental growth becomes accessible to all stakeholders (teachers, parents, care takers) and therefore makes it that much easier to detect delays when they first occur.
Once a child’s development has been monitored using a quality childcare software program and a delay is suspected, learn about early intervention services and find out who does free developmental screening. An early intervention agency may recommend an in-depth evaluation of your child’s physical, social, language, adaptive and thinking skills. This is a free or low-cost service. If your child qualifies for early intervention services, you can get an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) that will provide help for you and your child.
Clearly, monitoring a child’s growth and development throughout their childhood can be challenging for everyone. Thankfully, at iCare Software, a quality childcare software program for childcare centers, Montessori schools, preschools, afterschool care, enrichment programs and camps, we have done the heavy labor for you and now provide milestone monitoring services as well as 24-7 personal assistance with developmental information for each age group. With this type of support, teachers, parents and caregivers can rest assured knowing that developmental delays will be attended to and accounted for immediately.