Developmental Disability Awareness
Developmental disabilities awareness refers to the education and understanding of various conditions that affect the physical, intellectual, and emotional development of some individuals. It is important to understand that some people may have developmental disabilities that make it difficult for them to learn, communicate, or engage in everyday activities. By increasing awareness, we can learn to be more inclusive and accepting of differences, which can help to create a more inclusive and compassionate society.
According to the Centers for Disease Controls (CDC), there are five different developmental milestones, which include:
- Cognitive development
- Physical development, including vision and hearing
- Communication development
- Social or emotional development
- Adaptive development
A developmental delay refers to a condition in which a child’s development in one or more of the above areas is significantly behind what is considered normal for their age group. Developmental delays can be caused by a variety of factors, such as genetic conditions, environmental factors, or medical conditions that affect brain development. If your child seems to be developmentally delayed, it is important to take action as soon as possible to provide them with the support they need. Here are some steps you can take:
- Talk to your child’s pediatrician: Schedule an appointment with your child’s pediatrician to discuss your concerns. Your child’s pediatrician can assess your child’s development, provide advice, and refer you to a specialist if necessary. Here are some tips on talking with your child’s doctor here.
- Seek an evaluation: If your child’s pediatrician suspects a developmental delay, they may refer you to a specialist for further evaluation. This can include a developmental pediatrician, a child psychologist, an early intervention program, or an evaluation through your student’s school that address educational needs and supports through special education services or section 504 services.
- Get early intervention services: Early intervention services are designed to help infants and toddlers with developmental delays (birth to age 3). These services may include speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and special education services. Utah’s Baby Watch Early Intervention Program has a list of diagnoses that automatically qualifies a child for services or you can contact your local program here for a free evaluation of your child in concern.
- Connect with other families: Connect with other families who have children with developmental delays. They can offer support and guidance, and share resources and information on local services.
Remember that every child is unique, and every child with developmental delays requires an individualized approach. By taking action early and seeking out appropriate support and resources, you can help your child reach their full potential.