Treating developmental delays in Pasadena
Child development is the process by which children go through changes in skills development during predictable time periods, called developmental milestones. Developmental delay occurs when children have not reached these milestones by the expected time period. For example, if the normal range for learning to walk is between 9 and 15 months, a 20-month-old child who is still not walking is considered a developmentally delayed.
Children born with a genetic or chromosomal abnormality are placed at genetic risk. A good example of genetic risk is Down syndrome, a disorder that causes developmental delay because of an abnormal chromosome.
Environmental risk results from exposure to harmful agents either before or after birth and can include things like poor maternal nutrition, exposure to toxins (e.g. lead or drugs) or infections that are passed from a mother to her baby during pregnancy (e.g. measles or HIV). Environmental risk also includes a child’s life experiences. For example, children who are born prematurely, face severe poverty, mother’s depression, poor nutrition or lack of care are at increased risk for developmental delays.
About one in six U.S. children are diagnosed with a developmental disability, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study published online in the journal Pediatrics. That represents an increase of 17 percent between 1997 and 2008 alone.
If a child is found on a developmental evaluation to have some developmental delays, it is important that intervention occurs early on in childhood for a number of reasons. Generally, children need to learn these developmental skills in a consecutive fashion. For example, a child needs to learn to sit up on her own before she will be able to stand up.
There is no single treatment that works for every child with a developmental delay. Children are unique; they learn and grow and develop in their own way, at their own pace, based on their oown strengths and weaknesses. Any treatment plan will take this uniqueness into account and be designed to focus on individual needs. Early intervention services are the main theme of treatment, but any underlying conditions that have led to developmental delay will need to be treated as well. Early intervention services may include:
• Speech & language therapy
• Occupational therapy
• Physical therapy
• Behavior therapies to treat autism, behavioral issues, etc.