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What Are the Signs of Developmental Delay in Children?

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  • Written By: A.E. Freeman
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 24 November 2016
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Although children develop at different rates, signs of a developmental delay often include the child not meeting developmental milestones by a certain age. There are several areas of development that a parent or caregiver should be aware of when observing her child. Signs of developmental delay in children include not speaking at a certain age, not being able to grasp objects, and not smiling at others.

Children need to develop motor skills, social skills, and language ability. Vision and cognitive skills are also developed in childhood. Some children experience developmental delays in a single area, while others may have global developmental delays. While some children may take longer than others to speak or develop in other ways, it is not always a sign of a development delay as long as the child eventually develops the skill without intervention.

Babies develop language and communication skills over a period of months. A sign of a developmental delay in children who are around the age of four months is if the baby does not babble, respond to noises, or try to imitate noises she hears. Other signs of delay in communication abilities include if the baby doesn't respond to the sound of her name by 10 months of age or begin to form words around her first birthday.

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Signs of language delays in older toddlers and children include not pointing out things of interest to them, such as pointing to a shiny car on the road or an unusual sight. By the age of four, a child should be able to speak full, short sentences and be mostly understandable by an adult. Other signs of a delay in language and communication include not being able to understand directions by age three.

Delays in the development of vision can also occur in children. Signs of a vision developmental delay in children include crossed eyes around four months of age, trouble following objects with their eyes by six months, and trouble controlling the movements of their eyes around six months. Delays in vision development may be caused by poor vision, a lazy eye, and cataracts.

Other signs of developmental delay in children point to a social delay or a problem with motor skills. By four months of age, a baby should grasp objects and support his head. Around six months, he should be able to sit up and bear weight on his legs. Signs of a social delay include not smiling by three months and not responding to waves or giggles by 12 months.

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