Identifying your child's language or developmental delay
8th January, 2010
The process of identifying your child’s developmental delays, obtaining a diagnosis, researching the route which is best for your child and then securing that programme can be difficult and overwhelming.
Parents often become aware of the fact that something just “isn’t right” with their child but decide to wait to see if they will “grow out of it”. Nearly all parents are told by friends, family and even professionals to “wait another six months”. If this is the case, we urge you to follow your instincts and take a proactive approach to seeking answers. Early intervention provides the highest outcomes of success and a good programme can often result in your child moving towards becoming indistinguishable from their peers.
There are many different symptoms to a developmental delay. A few key characteristics to look for include, but are not limited to, delayed development of language, a loss of language or odd or repetitive speech patterns. Your child may have acquired a few words and then lost them at around 18 months of age, your child may never have developed functional words to ask for things or they may say non-sensical or seemingly inappropriate and unrelated words in either an odd manner or repetitively.
Your child may lack of interest in other people and/or environmental surroundings. They may struggle with sharing and have an overly strong attachment to certain items and routines. Perhaps they have a strong interest and fascination with limited items and objects.
Your child may have repetitive body movements, poor motor skills or seem
uncoordinated during certain activities. Perhaps your child lacks eye contact and finds it hard to follow instructions. Many children are thought to have a hearing problem when in fact they lack a receptive understanding. Your child may not respond to his or her own name.
Your little one may have ‘good baby syndrome’. Everyone comments on how ‘lucky’ you are and how good your baby is, but you have a niggling worry that all is not quite right? Perhaps your child is a faddy eater, faddy sleeper, struggles with changes in routines or struggles with becoming easily or overly frustrated or aggressive. Your child may have one or more of these symptoms. Each can range from mild to severe and will present differently in each child. Some children have great social motivation and love affection which is why their parents and family doubt the developmental delay. If your child is exhibiting any of the red flags listed above, it is recommended you meetwith a behaviour analyst. They can provide you with an unbiased and professional opinion and can give you some immediate recommendations to begin addressing struggles whilst you seek a diagnosis.
The process of diagnosis can take a long time but you don’t have to wait for an official diagnosis to begin seeking professional help for your child. Verbal Behaviour has been proven to be the most effective intervention for those with autism and developmental delays. Verbal Behaviour is successful with all populations and even promotes language for typically developing children. It can prevent the full onset of autism and developmental delays in babies who are “at risk” of developing autism or a developmental disorder and infants who are displaying worrying signs. It will teach individuals who have limited or no spontaneous language as well as decrease inappropriate behaviours to facilitate learning. Verbal Behaviour has been shown to have
dramatic results in all individuals who struggle with language, social and behaviour, from babies with worrying signs, children with autism through to adults with stroke or acquired head trauma.
It is never too early to start teaching your child language. It is also never too late to make a significant impact with language and learning.
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