But why do some babies have developmental delays?
There are lots of reasons that affect babies reaching developmental milestones. Below we look at some of the medical research for the reasons for possible developmental delays.
Reasons for developmental delay:
Some babies are born with a genetic condition which causes delays in their development, e.g. Down Syndrome, Prader Willi Syndrome. There are also a few rare genetic syndromes causing developmental delay in babies which we know little about. At the same time, some babies who do not have genetic conditions also show delay in development without any obvious reasons after extensive medical investigations.
This is why it’s important to seek the support of a professional if your baby has delays to encourage them to develop their skills.
Some complications during pregnancy can lead to developmental delay. Babies who have had complications during pregnancy often are closely monitored by a Healthcare Professional. Babies who have been exposed to alcohol or substance abuse in utero are also at greater risk of having developmental delays.
Studies have consistently shown that babies born prematurely tend to achieve developmental milestones later than their peers born at full-term. It’s important for premature babies to have developmental check-ups at their Child and Family Health Centre or with their GP to ensure they are developing well, if you have any concerns about your premature baby’s development then please seek medical guidance.
Lack of stimulation especially human interaction is detrimental to a baby’s overall development. Long-term studies have shown that babies born during wartime or in an orphanage, where only basic physiological needs are provided such as food and a place to sleep, those babies show delay in overall development. Age- or ability-appropriate toys are important but interacting with another human during play time is equally important for the baby’s early development.
Long term illness or hospital stay and prolonged family stress can cause short term effects to a baby’s development. Often the baby will catch up with their peers once the stressful stimulus is removed or if they are nurtured and encouraged with achieving their developmental milestones.
What to do if you have concerns about your baby’s development:
Please remember that all babies and children develop at their own pace and in their own way. No one particular route is the right way to do things.
If you have any concerns about your baby’s development then book an appointment at your local Child and Family Health Centre or with your GP, they will be able to give your baby a developmental check up and provide you with advice or a referral to other health professionals such as a Physiotherapist.
In my next blog I discuss how we can encourage development of a baby in their natural environment.