Developmental Delay

What does developmental delay refer to?
A developmental delay occurs when child has the delayed achievement of one or more of his milestones. This may affect your child's speech and language, his fine and gross motor skills, and/or his personal and social skills.
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A delay in fine motor skills in older children may be manifested by:

  • not being able to use a spoon or fork
  • tie his shoe laces
  • button his clothes
  • write his name
  • draw shapes
  • color inside the lines
  • hold a pencil correctly at the age appropriate time
  • Having poor handwriting.

A delay in gross motor skills in older children may include:

  • Not being able to ride a tricycle or bicycle
  • Being clumsy
  • Not walking correctly.

A child with a global delay will have delays in all areas of development. It is usually caused by a static (does not worsen with time) encephalopathy caused by a disorder before or near the time or birth. Causes of global delays include prematurity, cerebral malformations, chromosomal disorders, infections, and progressive (may worsen with time) encephalopathy (metabolic diseases, hypothyroidism.

What is the Role of occupational therapy for kids having developmental delays?
An occupational therapist can serve a child with developmental delay in the following ways:

  • Decrease developmental delays.
  • Improve writing and drawing skills.
  • Improve oral-motor strength.
  • Decrease oral-motor (structural) tightness.
  • Improve overall strength.
  • Improve overall coordination.
  • Improve visual perceptual skills.
  • Improve grasp and fine motor skills.
  • Improve self-dressing, feeding, and grooming skills.
  • Assist with increasing overall internal organization, focus, and attention.
  • Improve sensory motor processing abilities.
  • Desensitize children to their difficulties and instill confidence, trust, and self-esteem!