Years ago young children were often diagnosed with a developmental delay when they lagged behind in the acquisition of developmental milestones. Children learn more in the first 3 years of their lives than we really understand. Getting a slow start can, and often is, temporary and something that disappears with and sometimes without prescribed interventions.
A child’s speech may be lagging behind the majority of their peers. They may have difficulty putting on their own clothing, jumping, making their needs known according to normative charts. Peer interaction may be less than appropriate and often challenging.
Absent a medical diagnosis, that needed more than observer rating scales, developmental delay acknowledges the child’s development is not according to ‘accepted norms’ and does not put a lifetime limiting criteria on the child.
Developmental delay is a way to provide appropriate intervention with the hope and belief that the delay can be overcome in a timely manner to close the gap by age 8. After age 8, if your child is still behind the school district is required to reevaluate and determine a more specific criteria for support.
Appropriate support and intervention is always given to the child without a specific label that may define that child’s need for the rest of their lives.
The lack of label allows for celebration of growth. The realization that all delay is not life long or future altering should be embraced as a positive. It is very difficult to see your child as not in need because they have matured out of their challenge. There is always time for the life-long label. Seeing your child for the individual they are, with needs that can and should be met now is the ideal. The ‘better’ we become at defining difference the more we see difference as wrong.
Let’s keep moving forward to seeing difference as an opportunity for growth, not as something wrong but as a starting place for support. The rush to label put boundaries on our most precious resources - our children.
Want to know more about possibilities for support for your child. Reach out today.