Developmental Disorders in Preschoolers
When a child lags behind in his development milestones, he might be suffering from a developmental disorder. Early detection and intervention can help him lead a better life.
Developmental disorders are difficult to diagnose since each child is different. You, as the main caregiver are the best judge of your child’s development. Since you are the one observing him most closely, you will be the first to be aware of developmental delays. Keep a track of the milestones and check your child’s progress.
Do not hesitate to consult a doctor. Early intervention can help the child pick up life skills more easily and will also prevent expensive treatments later in life. Reluctance in making friends, delayed speech development and not engaging in much pretend play may be indicators of such disorders.
Common Development Disorders
Autistic children have few interests. Many of them also have an intellectual disability and might suffer from physical problems like seizures and low muscle control.
2. Asperger’s Syndrome
These children suffer from communication and social problems and find it difficult to concentrate. They often have an average or above average intelligence, which is why Asperger’s Syndrome is difficult to detect till the child is older.
3. ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder)
This is one of the most common children’s problems. Children with ADHD are over-active and impulsive, and find it difficult to focus even for short periods.
4. Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
These children begin their development normally. Between 2 and 10 years of age, the child loses his skills. Along with problems in communication and an impairment of social skills, such a child may also suffer from physical problems like loss of bladder and bowel control.
5. Rett’s Syndrome
More girls are affected by this syndrome. They have coordination and motor skill problems.
6. Pervasive Development Disorder (Others)
This is a milder form of autism. Children find it difficult to communicate and play, and have problems in socializing with other kids.
Causes of Development Disorders
Development disorders are often the result of multiple causes. They include genetics, parents’ health during pregnancy, birth complications, infections that a mother suffers from during pregnancy, the expectant mother’s or the baby’s exposure to toxic environmental pollutants or early illnesses of the baby.
What Can You Do
- If you notice a delay in your child’s development, talk to your doctor. He will be able to tell you if it is a real cause for worry.
- Be as specific as possible, while talking to your doctor. For instance say ‘I find my child has no friends at school’.
- Persistent follow-up after intervention is just as crucial as detection.
- Spend some time to play with your child. Read to him, talk to him and expose him to new experiences even if he seems disinterested.
- Match the pace of your child. Go slow, repeat actions or instructions if he wants you to.
- Try to understand his body language for signs of frustration or impatience and act accordingly.
With some patience and timely medical assistance, you can help your child overcome his disorder or equip him better to lead a healthy adult life.