Mother and Baby

Key Signs To Help Spot A Development Delay

Up until now your baby has sailed past her developmental milestones with flying colours, but now she’s a toddler you’ve started to worry she’s not developing as fast as she should. Before you hit the panic button and start Googling ‘late development’ take a look at our guide to spotting the signs of a development delay and what to do if you are worried

It’s human nature to compare your children with others, but we often tend to see what our toddler is not doing, rather than what they ARE doing. Just like babies, toddlers develop at very different rates and it is important to remember this.

‘All babies and toddlers will do things at their own rate so try to avoid comparing your baby’s development to others as each child is an individual,’ says Claire Burgess, early years consultant at Norland College.

But how do you tell if it is something you should be concerned about? Claire advises caution when referring to developmental charts. ‘It's important you look at this as approximate timings for the milestones to be achieved as all toddlers achieve milestones at different stages,’ she says. ‘You need to consider all areas of development; language, cogitative (thinking and learning), physical, social and emotional.’

All babies and toddlers will do things at their own rate

Chances are you’ll find that your baby will suddenly develop in one area and then another eg trying to crawl/walk. Once they succeed at this, then their language will start to develop.

Claire also suggests avoiding trying to push your toddler’s development. ‘Babies are learning so many things in their first two years of life and this can take time so it is important not to push all aspects of development at once,’ she says.

And if you are at all worried, seek advice from your health visitor or GP taking along a list of the concerns you have. Hopefully they will be able to reassure you that everything is fine, but if there are any areas they feel need further investigation, they'll be able to refer your tot to the appropriate specialist.

As a general guide, child psychologist Emma Kenny reveals some of the warning signs that a toddler may have delayed development:

  • Frequent falling and difficulty with stairs
  • Persistent drooling or very unclear speech
  • Inability to build a tower of more than four blocks
  • Difficulty manipulating small objects
  • Inability to copy a circle by three years old
  • Inability to communicate in short phrases
  • No involvement in pretend play
  • Failure to understand simple instructions
  • Little interest in other children
  • Extreme difficulty separating from primary caregiver
  • If you’re at all concerned about any of the above seek advice from your GP or health visitor.



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