There are many different types of developmental disabilities in children and they are quite frequently misunderstood. The CDC states that at least one in six children in the United States will have or does have developmental disabilities or other developmental delays. Because of their frequency, it is time that we begin to research and understand them. A few of the most common developmental disabilities are:
- Autism spectrum disorder (ASD);
- Attention-deficit (hyperactivity) disorder;
- Cerebral palsy;
- Vision loss and hearing loss.
However, even though one in six children have or will have a developmental disability, only one in twelve is diagnosed before beginning their schooling. Because of the huge lack of misunderstanding and the lack of diagnosis, it is important that we begin to understand these disabilities, which is exactly what this page will hope to tell you how to do.
Here is what you should know about developmental disabilities in children.
Causes and Risk Factors
Developmental disabilities can begin at any point during a child’s developmental period, and in most cases, these disabilities will last for the entirety of their lifetime. Developmental disabilities often occur before a child is born, but can happen afterwards, following injury, illness, or trauma. Developmental disabilities are generally said to be caused by:
- Infections in the mother during pregnancy, or that the child may experience during their early life;
- Exposure to high environmental toxins;
- Poor parental behaviour, such as alcoholism or drug use during pregnancy. Foetal alcohol syndrome is well known among doctors and scientists;
- Birth complications.
When children grow up, each achievement is a milestone; their first steps, their first woods, the first time they laugh. However, if you notice that your child is not having these milestones, or if they are incredibly delayed, it may be time to consult a doctor to test for any developmental disabilities. It is well known that with autism specifically, communication can be very difficult, but according to the autism specialists of www.autismparentingmagazine.com, there are a number of therapies available to autistic children, some that prove to be very successful. If your child is not talking, walking, or expressing emotion, there is a strong likelihood that your child may suffer from a developmental disability.
Monitoring and Screening
As a child grows up, their development will be tracked both by the child’s parents and by a paediatrician. With every visit that passes, the child’s doctor will test, examine, and look for any developmental delays or problems that the child may be experiencing that the parents have not picked up on. The doctor will discuss any of these concerns with the parents so that they can establish a proper treatment plan and move forward according to the situation.
If problems are noticed by the doctor, an additional process, developmental screening, will take place. Developmental screening is a test the child undergoes to establish whether or not the child exhibits basic learning skills, or if there are any delays developmentally. Identifying developmental disabilities as early as possible reduces the stress, cost, and need for medical intervention over your child’s lifetime.
Living with Disabilities
Living with a child, teenager, or adult with a developmental disability can definitely be challenging. The important part is to stay active and engage with them. Having disabilities is not a death sentence and does not mean that your child cannot enjoy the same things as you; it also does not mean that your child is not healthy and cannot benefit from outdoor exercise. In order to stay healthy, one must eat healthily and exercise. Your child is not exempt from this. However, it can be more challenging with children who have developmental disabilities because they are more likely to suffer from asthma, eczema, skin allergies, migraines, and gastrointestinal problems, which can mean they will need a careful diet, to avoid allergens, and to see a doctor frequently, even into adulthood.
It is often teachers and school administrators who notice developmental disabilities in children first. If your baby or toddler begins to fall behind, is not reaching their milestones, or loses developed skills, they will contact you and explain that they think your child could be suffering from a developmental disability. They may have their own in-school support specialist who will be assigned to your child to oversee their formative education and ensure that they develop in the school and classroom as well as at home. You may also be given the option to have your child attend a school for children with developmental disabilities.
With this page, you should now know about developmental disabilities in children, including what causes developmental disabilities, and how to live with them. Many children who suffer these disabilities go on to lead long, healthy, and happy lives, so you needn’t be overly worried.