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DEVELOPMENTAL DELAY

When most people hear the word “occupation” they think of jobs or other activities that adults engage in, but occupation is defined as what a person needs or wants to do that is appropriate for his or her age or life stage. Occupational therapy (OT) can help people reach their maximum independence level for all of their daily activities by changing something about their skill set, the actual activity, or the environment in which an activity is performed. 

Developmental delays occur when children have not reached developmental milestones by the expected time period.  These milestones usually occur during the first five years of life and are fairly predictable. When a child is not reaching these milestones, their development may be termed as ‘delayed’.

Developmental delays can occur in any or all five areas of development:

Cognitive

Social and Emotional

Speech and Language

Fine Motor Skill

Gross Motor Skill

HOW DO I KNOW?

Below are some examples of milestones and their typical ages of achievement. Remember these are guidelines only and every child develops at different rates.

By 3 to 4 months, your child should be starting to...

  • Motor skills - reach, grasp and hold objects, support their head well, bring objects to their mouth and push down with their legs when their feet are placed on a firm surface

  • Personal / social skills - smile at people and pay attention to new faces

  • Communication skills - respond to loud noises, babble and imitate sounds

By 7 months, your child should be starting to...

  • Motor skills - reach with one hand, take objects to their mouth, roll over in either direction, sit up without help and weight bear through their legs when you pull them up to a standing position

  • Personal / social skills - enjoy cuddles, show affection for parents, show enjoyment around people, be comforted at night, smile without prompting, laugh or squeal, and take interest in games of peek-a-boo

  • Communication skills - respond to sounds

 

By 1 year, your child should be starting to...

  • Motor skills - crawl, drag one side of their body while crawling, and stand when supported

  • Personal / social skills - show back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or facial expressions and show back-and-forth gestures, such as waving, reaching, or pointing

  • Communication - use single words (like "mama")

  • Thinking - Search for objects that are hidden while they watch, use gestures, such as waving and point to objects or pictures

 

By 2 years, your child should be starting to...

  • Motor skills - walk and specifically develop a heel-to-toe walking pattern or be able to push a wheeled toy

  • Communication -speak at least 15 words, use two-word phrases, and use speech to communicate more than immediate needs

  • Thinking - know the function of common objects, such as a hairbrush, telephone or spoon, follow simple instructions and imitate actions or words

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