Developmental Delays

Anthony Crespo
Anthony Crespo Clinic Manager at AHS

There is no doubt that it can be very scary and disheartening to find out that your child may have a developmental delay but it is very crucial to remember that there are treatment approaches and options to choose from. At Allied Health Solutions we understand your concerns but before you start to worry, it is important to know what exactly a developmental delay is.

A development delay is in reference to a child who has not gained the skills expected of him or her when compared to their peers of the same age. Delays may occur in various areas of a child. Some of these areas that are affected and are very important in development are: 

  • Motor function
  • Speech and language
  • cognitive play
  • social skills. 

When a child has a significant delay in two or more areas of development it is known as “Global developmental delay” 

Causes

Due to the complexity of developmental delays there is not one main cause rather the causes are multifaceted. Some determining factors can occur before birth, during birth and even after birth of the child. In some cases it may not even be possible to pinpoint the cause of certain developmental delays. 

Here are a few understood causes:

  • Genetics 
  • Metabolic disorders such as phenylketonuria 
  • Trauma to the brain (Shaken baby syndrome)
  • Severe psychosocial trauma(PTSD)
  • Exposure to toxic substances (Lead poisoning)
  • Serious infections
  • Nutritional deficiencies  

How physical therapy can help

Physical therapy is very helpful for children with delays in gross motor skills. They evaluate the child by conducting an appropriate test to determine the child’s specific strengths as well as weaknesses. After testing, the physical therapist will problem solve with the parent about at home routines and the environment to figure out ways to enhance and build the child’s developmental skills. The physical therapist will provide detailed guidance on building motor skills to meet established goals. An example of this work would be if a child has significant trouble learning to pull him/herself up to a standing position. In this case the therapist would show the child how to lean forward and push off the feet and if that yields no avail the therapist will experiment with alternative means of support so that the child can safely learn new ways to stand. 


It is important to address developmental delays as soon as possible and remember you are not alone, if you and your child need guidance Allied Health Solutions is here to provide it. Contact us with any questions!

References:

  1. “Developmental Delay.” SSM Health, www.ssmhealth.com/cardinal-glennon/developmental-pediatrics/developmental-delay. 
  2. “Physical Therapy Guide to Developmental Delay.” American Physical Therapy Association, 3 Feb. 2021, www.choosept.com/symptomsconditionsdetail/physical-therapy-guide-to-developmental-delay. 
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