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Warning Signs For Growth And Development Disorders In The Little One

Morinaga Platinum ♦ 19 July 2023

Warning Signs For Growth And Development Disorders In The Little One

Often, parents do not realize when the Little One is experiencing a growth and development disorder. The growth and development process of each child is different, which leads to the differences in attaining developmental milestones. The acceptable time range to achieve each developmental milestone is also usually quite wide. For instance, the normal category for a child to be able to walk is between the ages of 10-18 months. There are often differences in development among children of the same age. Therefore, parents should recognize and understand the warning signs for the growth and development of the Little One.

Growth and development disorders in the Little One may occur in one or more developmental aspects. The developmental aspects of the Little One consist of speech, vision, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, social and emotional skills, and language.

In general, parents should recognize the warning signs in the growth and development of their child. By knowing the early warning signs, the cause of the delay can be identified and the appropriate solution strategy can be devised. The following are warning signs for several aspects in the growth and development of the Little One that parents should be aware of:

Warning Signs for Speech Disorders

Speech delay is a developmental disorder most commonly seen in children. There are several things that may cause this, such as:

  • The child is accustomed to listening to more than one language in their daily life
  • Abnormalities in the muscle around the mouth and tongue
  • Hearing abnormalities. For instance, ear infections, disorders of the auditory nerve, or congenital abnormalities
  • Autism

Warning Signs for Vision Disorders

Up to the age of six months, the vision of an infant is still imperfect. However, after that age, their vision will gradually mature. Vision disorders generally begin to appear once the Little One begins formal education, and can be caused by:

  • Refractive disorders (nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism)
  • Lazy eye, or also known as amblyopia
  • Cataract
  • Retinopathy (disorder of the retina)
  • Squinting

Warning Signs for Gross Motor Skills

Warning signs to be cautious about include:

  • Unbalanced movements, for instance between the left side and the right side of the body
  • Presence of primitive reflexes (reflexes that appear at birth) until the age of more than 6 months
  • Muscle tone disorders
  • Presence of uncontrolled movements

Delays can occur due to:

  • Ataxia (disorder in skeletal muscle coordination)
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Vision disorders
  • Spina bifida (disorder of the spinal cord)

Warning Signs for Fine Motor Skills

Warning signs that may occur include:

  • The infant is still grasping after the age of 4 months
  • Presence of one-handed dominance before the age of 1 year
  • Oral exploration (such as placing toys in the mouth) remains very dominant after the age of 14 months

Warning Signs for Social and Emotional Skills

  • 6 months: rarely smile or show other expressions of delight
  • 9 months: lack of vocal behaviour or showing facial expressions
  • 12 months: do not respond when their name is called
  • 15 months: unable to say a single word
  • 18 months: unable to pretend play
  • 24 months: no significant 2-word combinations
  • All ages: absence of babbling, speech, or abilities to interact

Warning Signs for Cognitive Skills

  • 4 months: lack of ability for eyes to follow objects
  • 6 months: no responses or attempts to identify sources of sound
  • 9 months: no babbling of simple meaningless words such as ‘mama’ or ‘baba’
  • 24 months: no meaningful words
  • 36 months: unable to compose 3 words

If parents suspect that the Little One is experiencing a delay in one or more of the above aspects, they should immediately consult a pediatrician in order to obtain early evaluation and therapy.