A child has a developmental delay when he does not meet developmental milestones that exist within his age group and are generally accepted. For this reason, children begin to walk between 9 and 15 months and walk alone when they are two years old. After this type if the little one does not walk, then he would be having a developmental delay.
There are four main areas of concern in child development:
- Social and emotional
- Fine and gross motor skills
- Language and speech
The importance of routines
It is necessary to establish procedures and routines because it is one of the best strategies for children with developmental delays . Structure and predictability in learning give a sense of stability to children who already know or feel that they are different from other children.
Parents should work with teachers to set similar expectations so that home and school habits are not totally incompatible. For example, if the parent knows that their child works well with a twin brother or twin, they can ask the teacher to assign their children as classmates. If the teacher requires children to read or look at books silently for 20 minutes, parents could emulate this at home.
Children with developmental delays will benefit from hands-on learning . Manipulators are educational aids that complement and reinforce specific skills. Alphabet letter pieces, wooden blocks, and plastic shapes are materials that help children by providing a tangible example of a concept.
Manipulative stipulation helps developmentally delayed children understand new mathematical facts by representing numbers with shapes or drawings in two and three dimensions . Handling these manipulators also improves gross and fine motor skills.
Children with developmental delays benefit from multiple learning strategies. Worksheets and handwriting activities will not be effective for children who have difficulty holding a pencil for an extended period of time.
Alternative strategies like drawing or writing short sentences give children a way to express themselves and build confidence in their writing ability . Success in small tasks will motivate them to work harder to improve writing skills.
Language or speech
Children with developmental delays may have difficulty speaking or expressing themselves well. They may not articulate sounds correctly or know enough expressive language to communicate effectively. Participating in frequent conversations is an effective strategy. Parents and teachers can read aloud, then ask for comments and opinions on the book. The goal is to make children feel comfortable sharing their thoughts with adults and peers, regardless of their potential difficulties.
In any case, parents must be clear that young children have their own pace of learning and development and that by stimulating them much more they will not go faster. They need their learning pace to be respected and for that reason, parents must be patient. There are children, for example, who at two years old can have a conversation with their parents and others of the same age, who do not say more than 4 words in total in their vocabulary.
But this is neither good nor bad, that is, children have their own learning pace and it is essential that parents respect it and do not want to force their children to do things for which they are not yet ready. Stimulation at home is essential , but without overwhelming the little ones or forcing them to do things that they can achieve at the moment.