Can a quality day care software program help detect developmental delays in preschoolers?

As you watch your child grow, it is important to remember that all children develop at different rates and it is best to try not to constantly compare your child to others. There are however some red flags to look out for when children are not meeting specific milestones and are significantly struggling in comparison to their peers. Developmental delays are lags in one or more areas of emotional, mental or physical growth. The main types of developmental delays that we see in children ages 3- 5 (preschool) are problems with language and speech, motor skills, emotional and social skills, and thinking or cognitive skills.

Spotting these delays early will always help with potential treatment however it is not easy. Knowing what to look for and understanding possible causes and treatments may help parents and teachers when dealing with these types of situations. By keeping track of development with a quality daycare software program you can make this important job much easier to accomplish. With each area of difficulty, there are warning signs to look for:

Language and speech delays in children

Language and speech problems are the most common type of developmental delay. Speech refers to verbal expression, including the way words are formed. Language is a broader system of expressing and receiving information, such as being able to understand directions. Try using childcare that offers a day care software program that assists in journal and record keeping to make sure that each day is recorded for later analysis.

Possible causes. A wide variety of factors may cause these language and speech delays, including:

Types of treatment. If you or child’s doctor suspects a developmental delay, seek an evaluation by a speech and language therapist. This specialist may use speech therapy with your child. The specialist or doctor may also suggest that you:

  • Communicate more with your child; talk, sing and encourage repetition.
  • Read daily to your child.
  • Reinforce speech and language throughout the day.
  • Get treatment for middle ear infections.

Warning signs of speech or language delays

Seek medical advice if your child has any of these signs at these ages. In addition to these red flags, watch for any loss of skills already learned.

By three years, seek advice if your child:

  • Cannot talk in short phrases.

By four years, seek advice if your child:

  • Does not use sentences of more than three words
  • Uses “me” and “you” incorrectly.

By five years, seek advice if your child:

  • Has trouble understanding two-part commands with prepositions (e.g. “under” or “on”)
  • Cannot give their first and last name
  • Does not use plurals or past tense correctly
  • Does not talk about their daily activities.

Motor skill delays in children

Delays in children may be related to problems with gross motor skills such as playing ball, or fine motor skills, such as colouring. To make sure your expectations for motor skills are age appropriate, use a day care software program that helps educate people about realistic expectations for each age group. This will help you when dealing with children of all ages.

Possible causes. Among the most common medical causes of motor skill delays include cerebral palsy and prematurity. In addition, children who have been institutionalised, lack stimulation at young ages, or have autism may have what is called “sensory integration dysfunction.” This complex disorder can cause a variety of problems with the senses, including:

  • Problems planning and coordinating movement
  • Fearful reactions to ordinary movements or an excessive need to seek out sensory input, such as by rocking, spinning or hand-flapping
  • Extreme reactions to touch, textures or pain.

These are other possible causes of motor difficulties, although most are rare:

  • Problems with vision
  • Ataxia, a defect that impairs muscle coordination
  • Myopathy, a disease of the muscles.

Types of treatment. For motor delays, your child’s doctor may suggest taking certain steps at home to encourage more physical activity. Your child may also need:

  • Physiotherapy for gross motor delays
  • Occupational therapy for fine motor delays or sensory integration problems.

Warning signs of motor skill delays

Seek advice if your child has any of these signs of motor delays at these ages. In addition to these red flags, watch for any loss of skills already learned.

By three years, seek advice if your child:

  • Falls often
  • Has trouble going up and down stairs
  • Drools often and has unclear speech
  • Has trouble working with small objects
  • Cannot build a tower of more than four blocks.

By four years, seek advice if your child:

  • Cannot throw a ball overhead
  • Cannot jump on the spot
  • Cannot ride a tricycle
  • Cannot grasp a crayon between thumb and fingers or has trouble scribbling
  • Cannot stack four blocks.

By five years, seek advice if your child:

  • Cannot build a tower of six to eight blocks
  • Seems uncomfortable holding a crayon
  • Has trouble taking off clothing
  • Cannot brush teeth well
  • Cannot wash and dry hands.

Social and emotional delays in children

Children may experience problems interacting with adults or other children — considered social and emotional delays — which usually show up before school.

Possible causes. Some causes of social and emotional delays include:

  • Neglect, such as a result of early institutionalisation
  • Ineffective parenting
  • Weak attachment.

Another common cause of social and emotional delays is called autistic spectrum disorders (ASD). This group of disorders also causes communication problems, ranging from mild to severe, and includes:

  • Autism, a complex yet common disorder
  • Asperger syndrome, a condition similar to autism
  • Childhood disintegrative disorder, which typically occurs in children aged three to four
  • Rett’s syndrome, which often includes learning disability and almost always occurs in girls.

Types of treatment. There is no known cure for ASD. However, treatment may include:

  • Medication to help with behavioural problems
  • Special types of behavioural therapy.

In addition, learning therapeutic parenting skills may help to promote healthy attachment, and social and emotional skills, in your child.

Warning signs of social or emotional delays

Seek advice right away if your child has any of these signs of social and emotional delays at these ages. In addition to these red flags, watch for any loss of skills already learned.

By three years, seek advice if your child:

  • • Shows little interest in other children
  • • Has extreme difficulty separating from parents or carers
  • • Has poor eye contact.

By four years, seek advice if your child:

  • Clings or cries whenever parents leave
  • Ignores other children
  • Does not respond to people outside the family
  • Lashes out when angry or upset
  • Resists dressing, sleeping or using the toilet.

By five years, seek advice if your child:

  • Is very fearful, timid, sad or aggressive much of the time; or does not show a wide range of emotions
  • Is unable to separate from parents without difficulty
  • Shows little interest in imaginative play or playing with other children.

Cognitive delays in children

Problems with thinking and cognitive skills may occur due to a genetic or chromosomal abnormality, environmental factors, disease, prematurity, nervous system abnormalities, oxygen deprivation during childbirth, or even accidents.

Possible causes. Common causes of cognitive delays include:

  • A poor learning environment
  • Institutionalisation or neglect during infancy or early childhood
  • A wide range of learning disabilities
  • Exposure to alcohol or toxins during pregnancy
  • One of the pervasive developmental disorders (PDDs), such as autism.

Types of treatment. As with most types of delays, early intervention for cognitive delays can make a big difference in the progress your child makes. Depending upon the diagnosis, treatment may include:

  • Medication, in rare cases
  • Play therapy or occupational therapy
  • Special education.

Warning signs of cognitive delays

Seek advice if your child has any of these signs of cognitive delays at these ages. In addition to these red flags, watch for any loss of skills already learned.

By three years, seek advice if your child:

  • Has trouble copying a circle
  • Cannot understand simple instructions
  • Does not become involved in “pretend” or “make-believe” play
  • Shows limited interest in toys.

By four years, seek advice if your child:

  • Shows no interest in interactive games
  • Does not become involved in imaginative play
  • Cannot copy a circle.

By five years, seek advice if your child:

  • Is easily distracted
  • Is unable to concentrate on a single activity for more than five minutes.

Remember: There is a wide range of normal development in children. Most developmental delays in children are not serious, and most children can eventually catch up. Even children who do have serious delays can make big improvements, when treatment begins as early as possible.”
(http://www.webmd.boots.com/children/guide/recognising-developmental-delays-your-child-ages-3-5?page=3)

It can be overwhelming for parents and even teachers to learn enough information about developmental delays to feel confident detecting a delay in the real world. Thankfully, at iCareSoftware, a quality day care software program, we have developed a program to assist with this information every step of the way. We provide 24-7 personal assistance from a developmental specialist and can give customised feedback whenever you may need it. Let iCareSoftware help your children where it matters most; their education. Because after all, our future depends on the quality of our children’s’ education today.

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