Recognizing possible developmental disabilities early is one of the best ways to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan in place. Alex Dwek of The Maya Rose Project in Rutherford, New Jersey, understands this all too well. His eight-year-old daughter Maya has a chronic illness that can only be described as a medical mystery. Until she was eight months old, she was a happy, healthy baby with apparently normal development; after that time, however, she started to show signs of developmental disabilities that have stumped the medical community.
Here, The Maya Rose Project shares three signs of developmental disabilities in young children:
- Milestones Are Not Being Reached: In a young child's development, he or she is expected to reach certain milestones regarding speech, cognition, behavior, and movement. Obviously, no two children are alike and everyone progresses at their own pace, but there are certain time periods where specific indicators will emerge that demonstrate your child's development. If you suspect your child is not reaching the expected milestones, talk to your pediatrician.
- Your Child Doesn't Respond In Typical Ways: If your child seems to not hear you and is unable to make significant eye contact, it could be a sign of a developmental disability. Many infants with child development issues will not respond to sensory or environmental triggers. For instance, children with developmental disabilities may not like to be held and comforted, acts which are innately soothing to most babies.
- Problems With Motor Skills: In a child's earliest years, their muscles develop and they learn to utilize these muscles to make specific movements like crawling, walking, running, and jumping. Even something as basic as sitting up is a motor skill that babies usually master, but this was one of the first warning signs that Maya was struggling developmentally. Be aware of how your child is progressing with even the most basic motor skills; these can be red flags that developmental disabilities may be present.
Maya's struggles continue to baffle doctors and a definitive diagnosis remains out of reach. The Maya Rose Project is working to find answers for this precious eight-year-old's condition. If your child is struggling with similar issues or you’d like to help, visit The Maya Rose project online or email Alex Dwek directly.