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- What is child development?
- What is a developmental delay? Will my child just grow out of it?
- What is developmental screening?
- Why is developmental screening important?
- I have concerns that my child could have a developmental delay. Who can I contact in my state to get a developmental assessment for my child?
- How can I help my child's development?
What is child development?
A child's growth is more than just physical. Children grow, develop, and learn throughout their lives, starting at birth. A child's development can be followed by how they play, learn, speak, and behave.
What is a developmental delay? Will my child just grow out of it?
Skills such as taking a first step, smiling for the first time, and waving "bye bye" are called developmental milestones. Children reach milestones in playing, learning, speaking, behaving, and moving (crawling, walking, etc.). A developmental delay is when your child does not reach these milestones at the same time as other children the same age. If your child is not developing properly, there are things you can do that may help. Most of the time, a developmental problem is not something your child will "grow out of" on his or her own. But with help, your child could reach his or her full potential!
What is developmental screening?
Doctors and nurses use developmental screening to tell if children are learning basic skills when they should, or if they might have problems. Your child's doctor may ask you questions or talk and play with your child during an exam to see how he or she learns, speaks, behaves, and moves. Since there is no lab or blood test to tell if your child may have a delay, the developmental screening will help tell if your child needs to see a specialist.
Why is developmental screening important?
When a developmental delay is not recognized early, children must wait to get the help they need. This can make it hard for them to learn when they start school. In the United States, 15 percent of children have a developmental or behavioral disability such as autism, intellectual disability (also known as mental retardation), or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
In addition, many children have delays in language or other areas. But, less than half of children with problems are identified before starting school. During this time, the child could have received help for these problems and may even have entered school more ready to learn.
I have concerns that my child could have a developmental delay. Whom can I contact in my state to get a developmental assessment for my child?
Talk to your child's doctor or nurse if you have concerns about how your child is developing. If you or your doctor think there could be a problem, you can take your child to see a developmental pediatrician or other specialist, and you can contact your local early intervention agency (for children under 3) or public school (for children 3 and older) for help. To find out who to speak to in your area, you can contact the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities by logging on to www.nichcy.org/states.htm. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has links to information for families at (www.cdc.gov/actearly). If there is a problem, it is very important to get your child help as soon as possible.
How can I help my child's development?
Proper nutrition, exercise, and rest are very important for children's health and development. Providing a safe and loving home and spending time with your child - playing, singing, reading, and even just talking - can also make a big difference in his or her development.
For other ideas of activities to do with your child, and for child safety information, go to www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/child/ and look in the "developmental milestones" section.
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Last update: 9/29/2009
Top Developmental Screening Related Articles
ADHD in ChildrenAttention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) causes the following symptoms in children: excessive activity, problems concentrating, and difficulty controlling impulses. There are three types of ADHD: the predominately inattentive type, the predominately hyperactive/impulsive type, and the combined (inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive) type. Stimulant medications are the most common medication used to treat ADHD.
Autism and Communication
Autism in children and adults is a developmental disorder, characterized by impaired development in communication, social interaction, and behavior. Autism is classified as a pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), which is part of a broad spectrum of developmental disorders affecting young children and adults. There are numerous theories and studies about the cause of autism. The treatment model for autism is an educational program that is suitable to an individual's developmental level of performance. There is no "cure" for autism.
Autism Screening and DiagnosisAutism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis requires two steps -- developmental screening and comprehensive diagnostic evaluation. Develpmental screening helps tell if children have delays. Comprehensive diagnostic evaulation may include looking at the child's behavior and development and interviewing the parents. It may also include hearing and vision screening, genetic testing, neurological testing, and other medical testing.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) FAQsAutism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are developmental disorders that do not appear to be linked to vaccines. More people than ever are being diagnosed with an ASD, including adults. Children with autism may receive special education services. A child with an ASD may or may not have a mitochondrial disease.
Children's HealthChildren's health is focused on the well-being of children from conception through adolescence. There are many aspects of children's health, including growth and development, illnesses, injuries, behavior, mental illness, family health, and community health.
Learning DisabilityLearning disabilities can cause an individual to have trouble learning and using skills such as reading, listening, writing, reading, speaking, reasoning, and performing mathematics. There is no cure for learning disabilities. Parents and teachers working together to properly diagnose learning disabilities can properly plan a course of education. For some, medication may be appropriate as complimentary treatment.
A number of vital tasks carried out during sleep help maintain good health and enable people to function at their best. Sleep needs vary from individual to individual and change throughout your life. The National Institutes of Health recommend about 7-9 hours of sleep each night for older, school-aged children, teens, and most average adults; 10-12 for preschool-aged children; and 16-18 hours for newborns. There are two stages of sleep; 1) REM sleep (rapid-eye movement), and 2) NREM sleep (non-rapid-eye movement). The side effects of lack of sleep or insomnia include:
- Feeling sleepy during the day
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Lack of sleep and insomnia can be caused by medical conditions or diseases, medications, stress, or pain. The treatment for lack of sleep and insomnia depends upon the cause.
Williams syndrome is a developmental disorder that affects many parts of the body. Signs, symptoms, characteristics and features may include
- intellectual disability,
- learning problems,
- unique personality characteristics,
- distinctive facial features, and
- heart and blood vessel problems.
Williams syndrome is a genetic condition that involves chromosome 7.