Tag Archive | "developmental delay"

Signs and Treatment of Developmental Delays In Toddlers

Toddler development follows a timeline. Children are expected to achieve certain developmental milestones by a certain age. However, developmental delays are unavoidable. Here is a guide to help you spot the signs as well as some advice for treating them.

Cognitive Warning Signs

Cognitive developmental delay can be caused by a learning disability, contact with harmful elements (alcohol, toxin, lead, etc.) and hereditary problems. Warning signs include – inability to follow simple directions, does not point at objects, wave, imitate sounds and search for objects that are out of sight and failure to identify the function of common objects like a telephone, spoon or toothbrush.


A specialist may prescribe medications to help treat behaviour problems. Your toddler can also undergo an educational intervention to help him develop specific cognitive skills.

Language and Speech Warning Signs

Language and speech problems are the most common type of developmental delay. This delay may be because a toddler is autistic, exposed to a multilingual family (family who speaks more than one language), has a learning disability, middle ear infection which results to loss of hearing or dysarthria (difficulty with the muscles controlling speech).

A toddler with this developmental delay cannot respond to loud noises, jabber and laugh, use sounds and identify his own name, have trouble expressing himself like waving, pointing and imitating (communicative intent), difficulty uttering several consonant sounds by 12 months and fails to say at least one word by 15 months.


Enrolling a toddler in a special education program can help him overcome his errors in grammar, pronunciation and verbal communication. With the help of a speech pathologist, you will be given guidelines that will help you easily administer these techniques at home. Getting treatment for middle ear infection also helps treat this impediment as well as encouraging make-believe play, talking, singing and reading to your toddler every day.

Motor and Physical Warning Signs

Premature toddlers may not develop muscles at the same rate unlike full-term toddlers. Warning signs of motor and physical developmental delay are – inability to support head, reach and hold objects, roll over, sit up without assistance and walk by 18 months.


Your toddler’s doctor can recommend certain techniques you can practice at home to encourage more physical activity. He may also need physical therapy that includes specialized exercises to improve the tone and agility of his muscles.

Social and Emotional Warning Signs

Generally, behavioural problems occur before a child starts school. This may be caused by detached and ineffective parenting, cognitive problems, autism, Asperger’s disorder (condition that affects social and communication skills) and Rett syndrome (brain disorder).

Signs that your toddler might have a delayed social and emotional development include – inability to make eye contact, perform weird mannerisms like rocking, staring blankly and repeated hand twisting, putting hands into the mouth and clapping. Aggressive behaviours such as biting, hitting, kicking and frequent tantrums as well as lack of interest in making friends and unusual attachment to a parent or severe separation anxiety are also warnings signs of behavioural delay.


Play therapy is the best way to treat this developmental delay. Exposing your toddler to children his age by holding play dates, enrolling him in a class that will hone his interests, keeping your cool instead of reacting to your toddler’s outbursts with yelling and spanking, listening and responding also helps him deal with this delay.

Keep in mind that toddlers do not develop at the same pace. Some are early bloomers while others develop at a later time. But, it is helpful to be aware of the signs of developmental delays in children so one can take immediate action.

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