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Signs of Developmentally Delayed Children

Understand the symptoms of developmental delay

If you are a parent and notice that your young child is not progressing as quickly as others in his peer group, it may be beneficial for you to learn the symptoms of developmental delay. A developmentally delayed child is significantly slower than others in attaining thinking, motor, social and communication skills. A variety of medical conditions can lead to these delays, including cerebral palsy and autism.


Very young babies (up to 6 months old) who make no sounds can be developmentally delayed. The absence of squealing and laughing sounds, rare smiling and not copying sounds that other people make are indications. Other signs include no babbling and no "pointing" at things. Also, if a baby appears to show no interest in getting attention as a result of actions, it could point to a delay.


A toddler who has trouble concentrating on activities as long as others in her peer group may have developmental delays. Other behavioral signs in toddlers are quick frustration when trying to do new things, poor eye contact, stubbornness, talking to herself, decreased emotion about others and short attention span.


Physical aspects that can signal developmental delays in children include rigid and stiff limbs (lower and upper), poor posture, extreme clumsiness (especially when compared with other children of the same age) and using one side of the body with more frequency.


The eyes can be a sign of developmental delays. For example, a child with delays may have eyes that are either turned or crossed. Other signs are problems with focusing the eyes, rubbing the eyes a lot, issues with following things that are moving around and abnormal tilting of the head when observing objects.


Hearing problems also may be associated with developmental delays. In some cases, these hearing problems manifest themselves physically -- in the form of too-small ears. A child also may talk with a tone that is either too soft and quiet or too loud and harsh. If a child fails to act shocked by very loud sounds, such as large objects falling, he may be experiencing delays.

Social Skills

Undeveloped social skills and attachment issues are linked with developmental problems. When a 3-year-old has yet to display a healthy interest in making new friends, he may be developmentally delayed. The same applies to children who are unusually attached to a parent and become extremely stressed when it comes to separation.

Lars Tramilton, eHow Contributor