Who should you consult if your child has a developmental delay?
If your child has a developmental, learning, or behavioral problem, consult a developmental pediatrician. Developmental pediatricians assess the child’s development in various areas of development such as physical, mental, social, emotional and self help skills and identify areas that need intervention and remediation.
Some examples of conditions that developmental pediatricians deal with are
Delayed development in independent walking
Delayed development in speech
Difficulty or disinterest in learning new skills
Developmental delays due to prematurity, Down’s syndrome and other chromosomal and genetic disorders
Hyperactivity and concentration problems
Difficulties at school
What should you do if you are concerned about any aspect of your child’s development and milestones?
If you have any concerns about your child’s development, consult your regular pediatrician. Your pediatrician will use a developmental screening tool and if there are concerns as per the screener, then will refer you to a developmental pediatrician.
Sometimes it may be possible to directly approach or consult a developmental pediatrician. For example, In India, if you are able to identify a developmental pediatriacian in your city or town, you may directly consult and take opinion from a developmental pediatrician. At present even in big metros, there are very few developmental pediatricians available as this is a emerging specialty in India.
Should you wait if you think your child may still be too young? How long can you wait before you decide to seek consultation?
It is never too early to consult a professional for your child’s developmental concerns. As soon as you become concerned, you can take consultation. Many babies and toddlers ‘at risk’ for developmental delay are identified sometimes even at birth or soon after, monitored and helped to achieve optimal development.
Earlier you start addressing your child’s developmental delay, easier it is to optimize development and prevent further delays and secondary difficulties arising out of the delay.