What are developmental disabilities? Developmental disabilities are one of the categories of mental health problems. Children who have a deficiency in language, socializing and communication are considered to have developmental disabilities. Some of these disorders are diagnosed at childbirth. Some developmental disorders, however, are not easily diagnosed and may only appear until three to six years of age. Below are the most common types of developmental disorders in children, both developmental and behavioral:
Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – It is one of the most common behavioral disorders. This condition has three significant symptoms: inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior. A qualified child psychiatrist or mental health expert can diagnose a child with ADHD.
Autism – Boys tend to have a higher risk for autism than girls: four out of every five children with autism are male. Autism is a developmental and neurological disorder associated with a deficiency in learning, communicating, and socializing. The term “spectrum” means that autism has different severity and a wide range of symptoms and behaviors. This condition is usually diagnosed before a child reaches the age of three. Although the symptoms are diverse, one thing is for sure, the earlier the child is diagnosed, the better the chances for improvement.
Down syndrome – It is known as trisomy 21 and is a genetic disorder that develops when a child has an abnormal number of chromosomes. Instead of just two, the person has an extra copy of chromosome 21. This condition is usually diagnosed at birth because of distinct physical characteristics like small, almond-shaped, upturned eyes, flat facial features, low muscle tone, large tongue, and heart problems. This developmental disorder was named after a British doctor named John Langdon Down in the year 1866.
Cerebral Palsy (CP) – It is a disorder caused by brain damage. As a result, a child’s movement, balance, and posture are affected. Cerebral pertains to the brain, and palsy means muscle problem or weakness. The symptoms vary from one person to another, but most children with cerebral palsy experience one or several of these problems: speech, vision, and hearing defects; scoliosis, joint issues, and mental retardation. A child suffering from this condition needs lifelong care since he or she might not be able to walk at all and will require special equipment.
Tourette syndrome – is a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive and uncontrolled movements known as “tics.” Usually, tics are in the form of sudden, intermittent sounds or movements and are classified as either simple or complex. Examples of simple tics are eye blinking, mouth movements, and throat clearing while complex tics are in the form of bending, twisting, and hopping. Children with this condition also have signs of ADHD.
Just as in any condition, early detection plays a vital role in dealing with developmental disabilities in children. Conditions vary in severity, and some of these improve after the appropriate intervention. Thus, upon seeing manifestations mentioned above, don’t hesitate to bring your child to a developmental pediatrician for proper diagnosis and intervention.