Developmental Delay: When To Seek Advice About Late Or Delayed Milestones?
By Carly Campbell, Paediatric Physiotherapist
What is developmental Delay?
The rate at which children meet their developmental milestones occurs across a spectrum, meaning that they develop and learn new skills at different times, predominantly between the ages of 0 to 2 years. The typical developmental milestones a child achieves in this time include rolling, sitting on their own, pulling up to stand, and walking. In the case where a child falls significantly outside the expected timeframe in developing these motor skills, a health professional may diagnose developmental delay. In some cases, developmental delay is related to an underlying condition but for most children it’s a normal variation in development that will improve with time and appropriate exposure.
What can I do to help my child achieve their developmental milestones?
To help your child achieve their developmental milestones, provide multiple and varied opportunities for skill development throughout the day so your child gets lots of practice and repetition. The most effective way to do so is through tummy time. You can start tummy time the first day you bring your child home from hospital. In addition, a variety of positions and stimulus will benefit, eg water play, bubbles, balls, musical toys.
Baby walkers and jolly jumpers can delay a child’s development, so whilst they can be used on occasion without negative impact, the best place for your child to learn from is exploring the floor. As they grow, continue to vary their experiences so they get the opportunity to try new things. New experiences stimulate the growth of new neurones in the brain which leads to learning!
When should I be concerned?
With appropriate exposure, specifically floor time, most children will develop and meet their milestones. If however, despite having ample opportunity for skill development, you felt your child is lagging compared to their peers, a paediatric physiotherapy assessment is recommended. Other signs to look out for include floppiness of the limbs, stiff arms or legs, limited movement in the limbs, reduced language, and unwillingness to take weight through the feet.
Early intervention (0-3 years) is the gold standard treatment for Developmental Delay, so should you be concerned, seeking advice early is highly recommended.
Carly is a mother of two and a paediatric physiotherapist at All About Physio Nerang on the Gold Coast. Carly has over 12 years experience working with babies and children. If you would like to book an appointment with Carly or one of All About Physio’s paediatric physiotherapists, click the ‘Book Now’ button below or call our Nerang location on 07 5596 5766. To learn more about All About Physio’s paediatric physiotherapy service click the ‘Learn More’ button below.