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Preventive Care
Children's Health

When to Visit a Child Development Specialist?

23 April 2024 · 10 mins read


Find out when should you take your child to visit a child development specialist.

What Are the Developmental Milestones for Children?

Developmental milestones are skills that children achieve as they grow, such as taking their first step, smiling for the first time, and waving "bye-bye." These milestones encompass various aspects of a child's development, including how they play, learn, speak, act, and move.

For example, parents can expect their preschool-age children to continue developing new motor and language skills as they grow up. As children enter school, parents may notice further advancement in motor skills, the ability to understand new concepts, and increased social development.

Why Is it Important to Identify Child Development Issues Early?

It is important to identify child development issues early for parents and teachers to recognise behavioural problems or learning disabilities at an early age. These issues may prove more difficult to rectify over time, so early intervention and support are crucial.

What Are the Common Developmental Disorders and Conditions?

There are several common developmental disorders and conditions that can arise if a child is experiencing developmental issues:

  1. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

    Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurological and developmental disorder that affects how people connect with others, communicate, learn, and behave. Symptoms of autism typically often appear in the first two years of life, which is why it is referred to as a "developmental disorder."

  2. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

    Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a behavioural disorder typically diagnosed during childhood. It is characterised by symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, and sometimes hyperactivity. These symptoms often occur together, although it is possible for one symptom to be present without the others.

    Hyperactivity symptoms are usually evident in children by the age of 7, but inattention or attention deficit may not be apparent until a child faces the expectations of primary school.

  3. Developmental delays

    Developmental delays refer to areas where children have not achieved the skills expected for their age, according to experts. Delays can be observed in various developmental areas, including cognitive skills, communication skills, fine motor skills, social skills, and speech and language.

  4. Cerebral Palsy

    Cerebral Palsy is a group of lifelong conditions that affect movement and coordination. It is caused by a problem with the brain that occurs before, during, or shortly after birth.

  5. Down Syndrome

    Down Syndrome, also known as Trisomy 21, is a condition in which an individual has an extra chromosome. This additional chromosome affects the baby's body and brain development, leading to mental and physical challenges.

When Should I Bring my Child to Visit a Child Development Specialist?

A child development specialist is an expert in identifying developmental and psychological disorders in children. You should take your child to visit a child development specialist if you notice the following signs of developmental delays:

  1. Delay in age-based developmental milestones (warning signs)

    If your child is not meeting the milestones expected for their age or if their play, learning, speech, behaviour, or movement seem outside of the norm; it may indicate a developmental issue. For example: not walking independently by the age of 15 months old.

  2. Speech and language difficulties

    Difficulties in understanding and speaking can be indicators of language or speech delays or disorders. If your child is unable to reach language milestones at the same time as their peers, it may suggest a language or speech delay.

  3. Behavioural issues

    While it is normal for children to occasionally argue, show aggression, or display defiance, persistent and severe behavioural issues for a child's age may indicate a behavioural disorder.

  4. Learning difficulties

    Learning difficulties can affect a child's ability to understand spoken language, speak, read, write, do math, or pay attention.

  5. Social and emotional challenges

    Children with social and emotional challenges may exhibit disturbed behaviour due to their disabilities, affecting their thought processes, perception of reality, emotions, or judgment. These challenges can be either temporary or permanent.

  6. Personal or family concerns

    If you observe ongoing symptoms that impact your child's developmental milestones at home, it is advisable to consult a child development specialist to determine the cause.

  7. Referral from paediatrician or teacher

    If your child’s paediatrician or teacher informs you that your child is not achieving the same developmental milestones as their peers, it is a sign to seek a consultation with a child development specialist.

What to Expect During a Developmental Assessment of My Child?

  1. Initial evaluation

    A developmental evaluation is conducted to identify and diagnose developmental delays and conditions in children. This evaluation helps determine if specific treatment or early intervention is necessary.

  2. Observation and testing

    A comprehensive developmental assessment involves thorough examinations, formal assessment tools, observation, and surveys from parents and caregivers. The specific methods used depend on the area of concern.

  3. Collaboration with other professionals

    Your child may be evaluated by various specialists, such as developmental paediatricians, child psychologists, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, or other professionals.

  4. Diagnosis and treatment planning

    Based on the outcome of the developmental evaluation, your child may receive a diagnosis and a treatment plan. Early intervention services and specific treatments can significantly improve a child's development, according to research.

Make an Appointment at Pantai Hospitals

Speak to your doctor if your child is showing signs relating to child development issues. A dedicated and expert team of Paediatric specialists at Pantai Hospital is available for consultation to provide the best care possible.

Get in touch with us to book an appointment today if you have any concerns or questions about child development disorder diagnosis and treatment options.

Pantai Hospital has been accredited by the Malaysian Society for Quality in Health (MSQH) for its commitment to patient safety and service quality.

This article has been medically reviewed by Consultant Paediatrician, Dr Yau Lin Tai.

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