Growth and development specialists assess whether a child is meeting the expected milestones in growth and development. If any abnormalities are observed, specialists create a programme to manage them.
Abnormalities may be related to failure to thrive, delays in development milestones, or medical conditions. Development milestones for communication, motor skills, vision, social, and cognitive are observed at every age.
Some children do not reach development milestones at the same time as most other children. Causes for delay in a child’s growth and development could be autism spectrum disorder (ASD), cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, genetic disorders, learning disabilities, hearing or vision impairments, medical conditions or injuries.
The growth and development of a child is a continuous process with a predictable sequence, yet it is different for each child. It does not progress at the same rate and each stage is affected by the preceding developmental experiences.
These developmental changes may be strongly influenced by genetic factors and events during prenatal life. Malnutrition, post-natal depression, maternal substance abuse and socio-economic status of the parents seem to be the main risks in the growth and development of a child.
Signs & Symptoms:
You may find that your child has a delay or difficulty related to:
Language or speech.
If there is delay in all areas, it is called “global developmental delay”. In addition, ‘failure to thrive’ is also a condition in which the child does not achieve the standards of physical growth. This may be caused by poor nutrition or an inability to process enough calories.
Development milestones, categorised as related to communication or motor skills or vision or social or cognitive - are defined age-wise. While there is nothing to worry about if your child takes a little more time to reach a milestone, you should observe the progress carefully.
If your child is consistently late in reaching milestones in one or more categories, you may need to visit the Medcare Hospitals & Medical Centres for an assessment and treatment plan.
At Medcare, a multidisciplinary team works to assess, diagnose and provide appropriate rehabilitation programs. A speech therapist will work with a child whose speech is delayed. Vision problems can be treated by special glasses or surgery, if needed. Physiotherapy may be recommended for motor skill delays.
A: Yes, it is possible that a baby has trouble hearing. Your doctor should check if there is any hearing loss. Hearing loss among children sometimes happens due to genetic reasons or infections. You should assess the condition and discuss the next steps with the paediatrician.
A: Tummy Time is the time that your baby spends on the tummy, while awake. This time helps to develop the neck, back and shoulder muscles. You can start your new-born on tummy time right away, starting with a few minutes and increasing gradually.
A: Autism or ASD is a brain disorder that affects social communication and interaction. People with autism often have unusual and intense interests and rigid behaviour.
In a toddler, if you notice that she avoids eye contact, does not show interest in interacting with others, and is very attached to certain objects, and also repeats some rituals over and over, then you should discuss this with the paediatrician, who may check for autism.
A: The exact causes of autism are not known and a number of factors are being researched. These include genetic and environmental factors. Researchers are investigating the role of genetic factors such as Rett syndrome or fragile X syndrome.
Certain other genes may affect the development of the brain. In some children, genetic mutations may cause autism. As far as environmental factors are concerned, researchers are studying whether viral infections, medications or complications during pregnancy, or pollutants may trigger autism.