Developmental delay and delayed milestones


All newborns should development in all aspects since their first day in life. This development involves several aspects such as motor, sensory, emotional, behavior and physiological. If the baby is not following the expected development of these aspects for his age, then he has developmental delay or delayed milestones.

Developmental delay and delayed milestones

What does developmental delay or delayed milestones mean?

At each month during the first year of life, and each few months or a year later in childhood, the infant and child is expected to be able to perform specific motor and language skills as well as attaining certain behavior.

These skills are well identified in charts at every pediatric clinic.

Delay in developing language, thinking, and/or motor skills milestones means developmental delay.

It is important to know that not all the developmental delay considered by anxious parents, but it should be evaluated by a pediatrician.


There are individual differences among pediatrics, that’s to say there is a time range for each aspect of development. So, mild deviation of the normal development is accepted, but an expert pediatrician will be the only one to identify this trouble

When does the alert of delayed milestones or delayed development ring up in the parents’ mind?

Usually the parents are attentive to first known indicators of normal development. For instance: head support, crawling, vocalization of short repeated letters such as mama and dada.

In addition, delayed teeth eruption and/ or taking the first step may point to delayed milestones, as well as hearing or vision.

What does developmental delay and delayed milestones indicate?

It indicates failure of normal progress and development of the infant and child, so the physician will recommend plan of treatment which may improve his growth or help him to acquire skills in an efficient and scientific way.

 In addition,

delayed milestones will attract attention to the cause, which will direct the health care provider towards other aspects of development.

The physician will early focus on certain diseases and symptoms secondary to the follow up of milestones, as a result, early treatment will be started as well.

What are causes of Developmental delay?

It may be caused by several causes such as heredity, problems with pregnancy, and premature birth.

  • Genetic disease: for example Down syndrome
  • Perinatal oxygen deficiency which results in cerebral palsy
  • Medical disease for instance autism
  • Degenerative muscle disease that’s to say muscular dystrophy

Treatment of delayed milestones

Definitely, there are different lines of treatment according to the cause of delayed milestones and developmental delay, as well as the severity of illness.

A detailed and accurate evaluation and diagnosis from a pediatrician is crucial to come up with a treatment plan specific for the degree and type of illness the baby have.


Some treatments include physical therapy for help in motor skill delays, and behavioral and educational therapy for autism.

In some cases, the pediatrician will prescribe medications.


It has a great role in the treatment of developmental delay with motor problems. We previously discussed the role of physiotherapist in other articles such as cerebral palsy, hemiplegia, paraplegia and quadriplegia.

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