The development of children with mental retardation can sometimes look different than their typically developing peer. It is important to look at the whole child, their physical, language, cognitive, and psychosocial development. Once a child is identified, there are professional and parental interventions that can be put in place to help the child reach their full potential.
- Children develop at a rapid rate, while both as a fetus and as a newborn.
- Physical development encompasses renal, endocrine, skeletal, gastrointestinal, reproductive, muscular, and neurological systems
- At age 2, a child’s brain is 90% the size of an adults
Signs of Abnormal Physical Development
- If a child’s head is abnormally large or small
- Lack or absence of some reflexes
- Abnormal weight or height
- Inability/delay to perform typical motor developmental milestones
- Birth: Crying and sucking noises
- 1-2 months: Cooing, rhythmic crying
- 3-6 months: Babbling
- 9-14 months: Speaking first words
- 18-24 months: Speaking first sentences
- 3-4 years: Using all basic syntactical structures
- 4-8 years: Articulating correctly all speech sounds in context
Signs of Abnormal Language Development
While keeping in mind the above development timeline, it is important to consider the way your child speaks. Consider the number of words in their vocabulary, how they pronounces the words, and the way they create sentences
- 2-4 months: Inspects own hands, begins to play with rattle
- 6-10 months: Plays peek-a-boo, slides toy on surface
- 15-18 months: Brings object from other room on request
- 22-24 months: Identifies 6 body parts, matches sounds to animals
- 30-36 months: Plays house, completes 3-4 piece puzzle, understands all common verbs
Signs of Abnormal Cognitive Development
If a child appear uninterested in manipulation, has delays in other areas, or has issues with sensory environment, cognitive development could be delayed.
- Smiling starting at 4 to 5 months spontaneously, 6 to 10 months into a mirror
- 3-6 months follows moving people; 7 to 10 months discriminates stranger; 11 to 24 months waves good-bye
- 8 to 10 months holds own bottle
Signs of Abnormal Psychosocial Development
- Extreme temper tantrums that do not seem to be linked to triggers
- Extreme shyness or withdrawal
- Lack of fear in high danger situations can be signs of abnormal psychosocial development
These measures of development may happen slightly before or after the suggested time frame as each child develops at there own rate. If you have a concern for your child, talk to your child’s doctor about them.