There are so many exciting changes and developments in our kids between the ages of zero and two. Often as parents, it feels as if they learn a new skill (or two!) each week.
Many of us have sat at playgroup or mother’s group and, while seeing our kids interacting, have inevitably compared them to other children of the same age.
“That child is crawling already, should my child be too?” “My daughter doesn’t play with a ball like that.”
We know all children develop at different rates. And sometimes we feel guilty for comparing our kids to others.
But sometimes, those small concerns can develop into bigger ones. Perhaps your child isn’t reaching one or more significant milestones for their age group. If this happens, you need the right information and support at your fingertips.
What is developmental delay?
During the early developing years of 0-2, children typically reach universally-recognised milestones in their development.
A delay or no presence of these milestones might indicate a child has a developmental delay.
The signs of developmental delay can be tricky to spot. In the video below, we’ve captured play-based activities that highlight some of the ‘invisible signs’ of developmental delay.
Does your child engage in imaginative (pretend) play?
Imaginative play (commonly referred to as pretend play) is when your child is playing with a toy in a pretend way, acting a scene they have experienced or imagined. For young children, pretend play usually refers to playing with a toy in a meaningful and appropriate way.
In the video we see the first child pretend to feed the doll. This action is known as pre-symbolic play, where the toy is used in a familiar way; using inspiration from their mealtimes. This is in contrast with the second child, who does not engage with the doll. The second child ignores the toy and plays with the toys in a way that is not constructive or meaningful.
Does your child have trouble with two-way interactions?
Two-way interactions (also known as turn-taking) with your child can be via verbal cues, body language, copying behaviour or physical cues like nodding. When a child is able to observe the interaction from another person and respond in an appropriate way, they recognise your communication.
In the video, the first child rolls the ball and receives the ball from another person. This is an active engagement in two-way interaction. The second child does not comprehend the interaction and shows disinterest in the ball.
Does your child have difficulty following simple instructions?
In conjunction with recognising two-way interaction, following simple instructions is the ability to comprehend and respond to a command.
In the video, the first child puts the fruit away in the basket. They have followed the process of listening and then acting in an appropriate way that addresses the instruction. The second child does not act in response to the instruction and instead continues to play.
Can your child point or label parts of the body?
Labelling parts of the body is a building block from following instructions. In this activity, the child acknowledges the simple instruction and uses existing knowledge to follow the instruction. In this case, the existing knowledge is body parts.
When asked, “Point to the feet”, the first child responds promptly with the correct action. The second child does not recognise the instruction, or cannot draw upon their knowledge to respond. Naming body parts, is also about understanding concepts – such as our body is made up of parts, and faces have a nose, ears, mouth etc. These concepts are important as children learn about themselves and others.
This video features examples of developmental delays, however, is not an exhaustive list. Please contact us to discuss other concerns.
How we can help
As a parent, you know your child best. If you recognise any of these signs or have concerns that your child may have developmental delay, we can help.
With the right support and advice, early intervention (therapy) can help your child to reach their goals.
We work with you and your family to create specific ways to help your child reach their therapy goals.
It’s never too early to seek information.