This information is purely to allow a reader to identify or empathise with a child’s lack of development concerns they may want to know a little more about. It is not intended to replace a consultation with an appropriately qualified medical practitioner.
Every child is unique and each and every child develops in a different way and at a different pace.
Babies and children usually learn important skills such as sitting up, rolling over, crawling, walking, babbling (making basic speech sounds), talking and becoming toilet trained as they grow up. These skills are known as developmental milestones and happen in a predictable order and usually at a fairly predictable age. While all children reach these stages at different times, some children may not reach one or more of these milestones until much later than expected.
1-3% of the population have a delay in their development between birth and 18 years. It is usually noticeable from limited communication in the early years to a lower intellectual functioning than what is perceived as ‘normal’ as they get older.
As a child may be considered as having a delay in their development if they have not reached two or more milestones in all areas of development.
Communication is an essential part of life and is fundamental to children’s development. Children need to be able to understand and be understood – it is the foundation of relationships and is essential for learning, play and social interaction.
Remember communication is not always verbal in nature. A child’s communication will depend on HOW they communicate and why they are communicating. It will also depend on their level of understanding so it is important to know what your child can and cannot do. Language is the vehicle for learning. It is the means by which teachers teach and children learn. Imagine trying to learn and understand new information without the ability to listen, understand and talk.
There are a number of warning signs to look out for in your child. These include:
Children who are struggling with their communication are more likely to have behaviour difficulties. Many children with identified behaviour needs have previously unidentified speech, language and communication needs. Imagine the frustration of not getting your message across.
Self-esteem and confidence are affected. Children with communication needs often see themselves as less able and less popular than their friends. Young people identify good communication skills as important for feeling confident.
If your child is showing signs of lack of development, you should seek the advice of a doctor or other suitably qualified professional.
Do these Sunflower stories resonate with you?
Here are just a handful of stories to give you a flavour of how we have supported children, young people and their families. Supporting children to thrive is what Sunflower is good at.
The Sunflower Trust