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Developmental Delay

Development is the process by which a child learns new skills to interact with those around them and survive in their environment. It happens at a rapid rate during early childhood.

Basic skills are combined to learn more complex skills such as walking, playing, speaking, and thinking. Although children grow at different rates, certain milestones of development such as sitting, walking, talking, etc. are associated with particular age groups. Some children may catch up with their peers after displaying an initial delay in development (transient developmental delay) while others show significant developmental delay that needs further evaluation (persistent developmental delay).

Children may show a persistent developmental delay in one or more areas including:

  • Speech and language: Understanding, speaking, and using language
  • Motor skills: Basic movement and fine motor skills such as manipulating objects
  • Intellectual or cognitive ability: Understanding, thinking, and learning
  • Social and emotional skills: Ability to associate with people and develop independence

Transient delays are often seen in premature babies, or those suffering from physical illness, family stress, or long hospitalizations. Persistent delay in development may be caused by physical or mental differences such as with neuromuscular conditions, vision and hearing differences, language disorders, emotional problems, or intellectual disability. These may be recognized when children begin school.

If you feel your child has a developmental delay, it is recommended that they be assessed early so that appropriate treatment may be initiated. Your doctor will perform a complete physical examination and perform specific tests to identify the area of developmental delay and define your child’s strengths and weaknesses. Vision and hearing may be assessed and basic laboratory tests ordered. A complete assessment may be recommended through a multidisciplinary approach involving an occupational therapist, speech-language pathologist, and physical therapist.

Once your child’s developmental delay is diagnosed, your doctor will formulate an appropriate treatment plan. Your child may need therapy in different areas such as speech, motor skills, and emotional development. Talk to your doctor if you feel your child is not reaching developmental milestones appropriately, as early intervention will provide the best outcomes for your child.

The multidisciplinary team of pediatric physical, occupational, and speech-language pathologists at Two Trees Kids are experts in treating kids with a wide range of developmental delay types and needs.


Language Delays:

A language delay is when a child isn’t meeting communication/language milestones. This
may be expressive (not saying as many words or sounds as expected), receptive
(difficulties with understanding), or mixed (both expressive and receptive). In other words,
their skills are delayed as compared to same-age peers. People also refer to these toddlers
as “late talkers.”

At Two Trees, we take a child-led, play-based approach to speech therapy sessions.
Children learn best through play – it is their “job” at this age! We target increasing
communication skills by incorporating evidence-based strategies into the child’s play. A
focus is also on educating the family, so that they can carry-over these strategies at home.
In fact, this is a very important part of treatment and is how we see children make
progress. We also support bilingual families and provide education on the benefits of
bilingual language development.