As parents, it’s normal to compare your child to other children around him – whether he is playing in the park or interacting with friends at pre-school. Yet, physical and mental development during childhood doesn’t happen in the same way, and at the same time, for each kid. Your child is unique and will develop at his own pace.
Some children, however, might show signs of physical, intellectual or behavioural developmental delays. We highlight some common developmental delays and disabilities to help you learn what to watch out for, and why.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Children with ADHD are over-active and frequently display impulsive behaviour. Watch out if your child:
• Is constantly on the go, only stopping when exhausted.
• Has frequent injuries often requiring hospitalisation (broken bones, for example).
• Is unaware or unable to follow preschool routines and rules.
• Has difficulties controlling behaviour.
• Has a weak memory.
While a child’s attention span evolves as he develops, what you should look out for is some degree of “functional impairment” that impacts learning or social development, says Dr Sylvia Choo from KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital’s department of child development.
Autism-Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
Children with ASD often have problems with social interaction, communication and problem solving. Watch if your child:
• Does not show interest in interacting or playing with other children.
• Does not enjoy games.
• Does not use eye contact.
• Does not point to show things or to indicate his wants.
• Does not sound like he is having a conversation and babbles.
• Has a very narrow focus when playing – for example, only focusing on turning the wheels of a toy car, and nothing else.
• Is easily upset by change and loves routine.
• Likes to rock himself back and forth for hours.