The 5 Developmental Delays To Look For In Elementary School

9 May 2016
 Categories: , Blog


All children have their own strengths and weaknesses, but some children do struggle with developmental delays that can hold them back from doing things like their peers. Before your child starts elementary school, look for some of these signs of developmental delays. If you know your child is delayed, you can get the right special education program for your little one. 

What Are Developmental Delays?

There are five main kinds of developmental delays. These are:

  • Social or emotional delays
  • Cognitive delays
  • Motor skill delays
  • Vision problems
  • Language or speech delays

Social and Emotional Delays

Social and emotional delays are caused by many factors, but some include pervasive developmental disorder or being on the autism spectrum.  

Usually, by the time a child reaches grade school, social interactions can be monitored. If your child isn't interacting or has odd behaviors with other children, it's possible autism, Asperger syndrome, or a disintegrative disorder is the cause. You may notice your child reverting to old behaviors or even failing to learn new movements or interactions if a delay is present.

Cognitive Delays

Cognitive delays affect the way your child thinks. These delays can cause a range of learning disabilities but can normally be spotted before your child starts elementary school. If your child doesn't understand how to use common objects or doesn't attempt to interact when playing games or looking at pictures, this could be the case.

Motor Skill Delays

Motor skill delays can be caused by many conditions, from cerebral palsy to spina bifida. These delays usually present from birth and may develop from birth until five years old or older. You can tell your child struggles with motor skill delays early on, because your child may not be able to push down with their legs, to bring objects to their mouth, or support their head well. 

Vision Problems

Vision develops from the age of five months onward; before that, it is fuzzy and hard for children to see accurately. At this point, the eyes begin to coordinate, but sometimes, delays or developmental problems develop. Vision delays may present as:

  • Cataracts, which block and cloud your child's vision
  • Lazy eyes
  • Strabismus, or cross eyes. 

Language/Speech Delays

You should be able to tell if your child is struggling with a language or speech delay by the age of two. If your child can't use two-word phrases or imitate speech, doesn't communicate willingly, or can't speak at least 20 words, a developmental delay could be present. 

With many of these delays, children will catch up, but it's important to get a medical opinion to get the right treatments. For more information about early education, contact a school like McLean Children's Academy.