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What Causes Developmental Delays in Kids?

What Causes Developmental Delays in Kids?

Childhood is a magical journey. It's a time of firsts — first steps, words, and friendships. But for some kids, these firsts come a little later. When kids don't hit those milestones at the usual time, they may have developmental delays. 

But what causes these delays? Dr. Henry Hasson, a pediatric neurologist with a wealth of experience helping kids with developmental delays in Brooklyn, New York, has some answers.

In this article, he explains what triggers developmental delays and treatment options to manage symptoms. 

Understanding developmental delays

Developmental delays are more than just being “a little behind.” They are significant lags in one or more areas of physical, emotional, cognitive, or social growth. 

These delays could be temporary for some children, who catch up over time. For others, they could signal a more chronic condition, such as autism or cerebral palsy.

So why do these delays happen? Every child is unique, and so are the reasons for their delays. 

Here are three leading causes: 

Genetic factors

Sometimes, developmental delays are caused by genetic conditions like Down syndrome or Fragile X syndrome. These conditions happen because of changes in a child's genes or chromosomes. They can affect all sorts of things, from how a child looks to how they think and behave. 

Each of these conditions comes with its own challenges, but with the proper support, kids with these conditions can learn and grow in their own ways.

Environmental factors

Kids are like sponges — they absorb everything around them. That's great when they're learning new words or skills, but not so great if they're exposed to harmful things. 

This could be drugs or alcohol before they're born, lead in their home, or even emotional trauma. These things can all impact a child's development. Keeping an eye out for these issues early on is crucial and can help limit their impact on your child's development.

Medical issues

Specific medical issues can also cause developmental delays. This could happen during pregnancy, like an infection, or after the child is born, like a brain injury. 

Chronic illnesses, like heart disease or cystic fibrosis, can also cause delays, as they can take up many of the body's resources that would otherwise be used for development.

Therapies and treatments

There isn't a one-size-fits-all approach for supporting a child with developmental delays. What works for one child might not work for another. 

It's often a mix of different therapies tailored to the child's needs. This could be physical therapy to help with movement, speech therapy for talking and communication, occupational therapy for daily skills, or behavioral therapy to help with social and emotional skills. 

Families, friends, schools, and communities all have a role to play in supporting a child with developmental delays.

Spotting developmental delays early can make a big difference. That's why bringing your child in for regular checkups with Dr. Hasson is crucial. This can help catch any issues and get your child the help they need as soon as possible.

Understanding what causes developmental delays can be complex. But knowing whether it's genetics, environmental factors, or medical issues can help families take action and get the support their child needs.

You don't have to navigate this journey alone. Get help for your child by booking an appointment with us online or calling 718-785-9828.

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