Evaluation and Diagnostic Criteria
When a child is accessed to determine if a developmental delay is present, the evaluator will often ask the parents questions about the child's development and will also gather their own data through interacting and playing with the child. Common types of developmental delays include:
--motor delays, which may affect an infant with poor muscle tone or a young toddler who is not yet crawling or pulling up to stand by 12 months of age. Parents may also be concerned about this type of delay if their child is not yet walking once he or she reaches 18 months of age.
--speech and language delays, which may be present in a toddler who is not yet able to speak single words or form 2-3 word sentences after reaching 3 years of age. Though the typical range for speech development is quite broad (some children begin to use words between 12-18 months of age while others reach this milestone after age 2), parents may want to request an evaluation for non-verbal children over 3.
--communication delays, which may be suspected in a toddler who has not transitioned into the "tantruming" stage or a preschooler who shows no interest in playing and conversing with other children.
Once a diagnosis is made, children with delays can receive support and therapeutic help from a number of sources, such as pediatric neurologists, developmental psychologists, early intervention programs, and public school special education systems.