Developmental disabilities is a term you might have heard quite often. The term is one that describes certain challenges faced by children and adults. If your child has been diagnosed with a developmental disability, here’s what you need to know.
Developmental Disabilities Is an Umbrella Term
Developmental disabilities are delays in your child’s skills or development. That means that your child isn’t progressing as expected for one reason or another. There are a lot of different kinds of developmental delays, some related to physical illnesses while others are related to how the brain develops. Some children with developmental disabilities are able to catch up, but others may not ever do so.
Not Hitting Certain Milestones
Milestones are certain benchmarks or skills that children typically master by a certain age. For instance, the Centers for Disease Control describes some of the milestones for a child at two months of age to be:
- Smiling at others
- Looking for parents
- Turning toward sounds
- Making sounds of their own
Not doing all of these things by two months of age doesn’t necessarily mean that a child has developmental disabilities, but if the child still isn’t doing these things by three or four months old, there may be some cause for concern. That’s especially true if the child isn’t hitting any other milestones, either.
Causes of Developmental Disabilities
One of the most common causes of developmental disabilities is genetic factors. Having a family history of certain conditions tends to make those conditions more likely in future offspring. There are other factors, too, like health issues the mother experienced during pregnancy or exposure to environmental toxins either before or after birth. Some developmental disabilities are still not completely understood, particularly in terms of what causes them.
Screening, Monitoring, and Other Means of Testing
Developmental disabilities are usually discovered through a series of visits with your child’s pediatrician as well as through screening tests conducted periodically. Once a developmental disability is discovered, that’s a chance to start accommodating your child’s needs. Early intervention makes a huge difference in your child’s ability to adapt and to excel as she grows, regardless of what other factors are at play for her.
Pediatric home health care for children can be invaluable for you and your child if she has a developmental disability. There are a lot of things for you to adapt to and to deal with as her parent, and that can all be overwhelming. Knowing that pediatric home health care providers are there to help with those more complicated medical tasks can be a huge relief.