It is helpful to know the signs of normal and abnormal physical development to be able to spot an early motor delay. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), created an online tool for parents called Physical Developmental Delays: What to Look For. If you have a feeling that something is wrong, this tool offers a feature than can help: an interactive experience to learn more about physical developmental delays in children 5 and under. You also have the option to create a checklist of items that can help you begin the conversation with your child’s pediatrician.
It is important to remember that this tool only focuses on a child’s physical development. If you’re worried about other developmental issues, like social, emotional, communication, or learning, visit Learn the Signs. Act Early. Call our office at 561-275-7100 to schedule an appointment if you have any of these concerns.
Note: If your child was born prematurely (before 37 weeks of pregnancy), they may develop later than other children.
If you express concerns about your child’s development to your pediatrician, he or she will listen carefully and may ask you additional questions. You may also be asked to complete screening questionnaire online or on paper; this is an assessment for developmental delays. Parent observations are an important part of a pediatrician’s evaluation. Pediatricians use the parental input from these questionnaires as a starting point for further examination and referral.
Early intervention services include a variety of different resources and programs that provide support to families to enhance a child’s development. These services are specifically tailored to meet a child’s individual needs, and most commonly include pediatric physical, occupational, and speech/language therapy.
• Physical therapist: Delays in large motor skills such as sitting up or walking
• Speech/language therapist: Trouble understanding language, using language, or swallowing
• Occupational therapist: Trouble with fine motor skills, visual motor skills or independent living skills, such as feeding themselves, picking up small objects, or buttoning their clothes
If your pediatrician identifies a specific diagnosis in your child, they can help connect you with support groups and other resources. Parent support organizations, such as Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, can help you from the first weeks after a diagnosis to beyond. Parents involved in these communities receive a lot of support and advice on how to parent a child with special needs. Some other conditions have well organized societies, such as the National Down Syndrome Society, United Cerebral Palsy, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.