Every parent wants the best for their child. Unfortunately, there are situations in which the child does not develop properly. It is very often independent of the parents’ efforts and the only solution to the problem is a visit to a psychologist. When is the best time to choose it and what symptoms may indicate disorders in the child’s development?
Infant development - first interactions
A small child who is just starting to discover the world on his own has to learn a lot. During the first weeks of life, a variety of stimuli reach him, including touch, sound, smell and taste. A newborn, and later an infant, spends practically all the time with his parents. Although he cannot speak, he intuitively recognizes his relatives. As the weeks and months pass, the child becomes more and more open, eager to learn about his surroundings and establish first interactions with strangers. Already at this stage, the toddler should follow the objects with his eyes and react to the parent’s voice. If this is not the case, it is a sign that something may be wrong. In such a situation, it is best to go to a pediatrician who will assess whether the baby is developing properly. It’s always better to be safe than sorry – reacting too late can have irreversible consequences.
Child development disorders - how to recognize them?
Even if the baby’s development is going smoothly, disturbances may also arise in the later stages. Parents usually become aware of them only by observing their peers. If children around their age behave similarly, then we usually have nothing to worry about. Problems may arise when our child develops more slowly and is unable to perform activities like his companions. For example, he may have difficulty speaking, walking, or feeling emotions. However, we should remember that each child develops at its own pace, and this is why it is so important that a specialist – a pediatrician or child psychologist – assesses whether we have reasons to worry.
When are speech disorders a cause for concern?
The most common type of developmental disorder is speech disorder. The child may either say nothing or do it much worse than their peers. There may be various causes of the problem. That is why it is so important to diagnose the problem in advance. In some children, speech disorders may be related to biological limitations, such as hearing problems. For others, it is the result of a learning disability. There are also cases where the lack of proper speech development is only a preview of a wider problem, such as autism. Fortunately, with regular work with a parent and a child psychologist, speech disorders can be overcome in many cases.
Movement disorders in a child - how to recognize them?
Movement disorders, i.e. those related to movement, can be the result of both a lack of adequate stimulation and a very serious disease. If a child at the age of four has problems with activities that peers do without thinking, such as throwing a ball, jumping or coloring a picture, a doctor’s opinion is a must. Underlying movement disorders may be problems with vision or muscle development, which prevent the child from being able to move as he or she would like. As with visual impairment, a child’s uncoordinated movements can be a symptom of autism.
Emotional disorders - problems with interactions
If a few-year-old has problems with networking, is overly emotional or, on the other hand, does not respond to what others say to him, he may be suffering from social disorders. Disturbing symptoms can be seen even in three-year-olds. If you care about your baby’s emotional development and don’t put them under stress, your little one may have Asperger’s, autism or Rett syndrome. You should be concerned about one of the following behaviors:
- the child is not interested in other children,
- does not respond to the words of adults,
- always avoids eye contact,
- easily gets angry,
- is overly sad, scared or aggressive.
If you notice these symptoms in your child, do not hesitate and sign up for specialist advice as soon as possible. Perhaps the child needs drug therapy or consultation with a child psychologist.
Cognitive disorders - lack of concentration and problems with imagination
Another type of child development disorders are problems in the cognitive sphere. They can appear for a variety of reasons. They are very often disorders resulting from the abnormal development of the nervous system and brain hypoxia. However, their occurrence may also be related to genetic disease or environmental factors. Children of alcoholics and drug addicts also struggle with problems on this basis. How to diagnose a child’s cognitive problems? The main symptom is difficulty concentrating, lack of interest in games, and lack of understanding of the parent’s or guardian’s instructions. If a 3-year-old has difficulties in performing these activities, an appointment with a doctor is necessary. Many cognitive disorders can be overcome with appropriate treatment. Usually, child psychotherapy by a professional is enough.
What to do when you suspect your child has a developmental disorder?
Adequate and quick diagnosis is the key to overcoming developmental disorders in a child. It is for this reason that we should never delay visiting a child psychologist. Often parents feel ashamed to admit a problem. They deny that their child may suffer from any disorders. Such an approach can only strengthen development disproportions in relation to peers. A visit to a child psychologist is not only a chance to get to know the problems that a child has, but also to learn how to act so that they feel very comfortable and develop better. It is definitely better to make an unnecessary appointment with a therapist than to neglect the existing problems. If the psychologist decides that we have no reason to worry, we will be able to sleep well.