Children with developmental disabilities, though not as common as other types of disabilities like physical or mental disabilities, are still very prevalent in the United States and Europe. In fact, approximately 10-15% of children have some type of developmental delay.
Children With Developmental Disabilities
These disorders can be triggered by any number of factors such as genetics and environmental factors. The most common types of developmental disabilities include autism spectrum, cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, and ADHD. We explore what you should know about these disorders and how to help children who have them! Read this article to find out more!
Know More About Developmental Disabilities
If you suspect that your child has a developmental disability, you should make an appointment with a developmental pediatrician or psychologist to get them tested. This will allow for evaluation based on four factors: cognitive abilities, motor function/development, social functioning, and emotional functioning.
You should not make the diagnosis yourself, as only doctors can do it. After a detailed assessment, a team of experts (doctor, psychologist, speech-language therapist, etc.) will assess whether your child is having developmental delays.
However, there are some things you, as a parent, can do. There are many magazines, such as Autism Magazines, that can provide you with detailed information about developmental disabilities (especially autism spectrum disorders) and ways to help your child cope.
There are also many books about it and don’t forget to watch all of those phenomenal movies about specific disabilities. All of this will help you better understand your child and what he or she is coping with.
When Should You Suspect A Developmental Disability?
If your child is not meeting the milestones set forth for their age, developmental delays could be to blame. This means that every milestone must be met by a certain time or else it can lead to developmental issues.
For example, if your child is not learning how to talk by the age of 18 months or walk by the age of two years, they could be having developmental delays. If your child does not make eye contact or doesn’t smile at you, these could also be signs of a developmental disability such as autism spectrum disorder. However, keep in mind that every child develops differently, so a minor delay at a certain age is normal.
The best thing you can do when your child is not meeting the set milestones for age is to contact a pediatrician as we mentioned before.
Every Child Is Different
When you start learning about developmental disabilities, it is easy to assume that all children who are diagnosed with them act the same way. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. There are many different behaviors and experiences children with these disorders go through.
For example, autism spectrum disorder affects each child differently, one might not speak while another can fluently speak three languages. As a parent, you know your child best and should take this into consideration when you are learning about these disorders.
If a particular approach, treatment, or therapy has no effect on your child, something else may will. The bottom line is: there is no one-size-fits-all solution for your child.
Listen To Their Needs
Although children with developmental delays often have a hard time communicating their thoughts and feelings, they can communicate perfectly well with their actions and it is your job to listen. When your child is screaming, hitting, or flapping their hands, they are not doing this for no reason, there is something that’s bothering them and you need to figure out what it is!
Don’t just tell them what’s going on, ask them and try to figure out what they want or feel. During your research on developmental disabilities, you will learn more about the different techniques that parents use to help their children cope, such as ABA or sensory integration therapy.
Every progress is significant, no matter how small. Your child is growing up and their brain is developing too. Just because they are not learning things at the same pace as other children does not mean that they will never learn them. If you are ever frustrated with your child or take out your anger on them, remember how hard they are trying to understand all of this.
Just because your child is not meeting the developmental milestones set for their age doesn’t mean they will never meet them. With patience and perseverance, you can help your child reach their goals and become a healthier and happier person!
It’s perfectly normal that you can’t do it alone. Your child deserves to have someone helping them who knows what they are doing. There are many therapists and organizations you can turn to for help.
They will be able to better assist you and your child in coping with developmental disabilities. There are also support groups where you can meet other parents with the same experiences as you do and ask each other questions about how you can better help your children.
It is also worth mentioning that assistive technologies are really helping parents all over the world. There are many applications that were made specifically for children with disabilities to help them learn and communicate better.
There is everything from text-to-speech programs to different kinds of apps designed specifically for those with special needs implemented into them. The possibilities are endless, just look around and you might be surprised what you can find!
Developmental disabilities are a broad term that affects a great number of children. There is no one size fits all solution, which is why it’s important to be patient with your child as they grow.
We also recommend finding help for your family if your kid is struggling with developmental disabilities of any kind – whether this means turning to therapists or support groups who have already dealt with these types of disorders before. Also, assistive technology such as text-to-speech devices can be really useful for helping children learn and grow!