Science

Parents: Watch out for motor development delay in your kids

By Randell Suba , May 28, 2013 09:34 AM EDT

If a kid shows delays in motor development, it might be an indication of developmental disorder.  Parents should also work closely with doctors during regular well-child consultation in screening their kids for difficulty standing, sitting or speaking.

In a recent report by a panel of doctors from the American Academy of Pediatrics, early detection and treatment of motor development delays can give kids a better outlook and help their families understand the conditions and treatment approach better.

"If a developmental disorder is identified, the child should be identified as a child with special health care needs, and chronic-condition management should be initiated," the panel said.

The panel of neuromotor screening specialists led by Dr. Garey Noritz outlined the skills of a child that should be properly monitored by doctors. The identified motor skills are tabulated according to when they are expected to be developed and should be observed during their visits to the doctor at ages 9, 18, 30 months and at 2-years.

Normally, babies can roll to their left or right, grasp objects, and sit without support at nine months. Kids who are 1.5-years old are expected to sit, stand, and walk on their own.

According to the panel, during a well-child visit, pediatricians should also ask parents questions about the development of kids and observe for any signs of delay. During checkup, doctors are encouraged to check the head size, muscle tone, eye movements, and reflexes of their pediatric patient.

"We're hoping that people can get to a specialist more quickly and thus get diagnosed more quickly, but that primary care clinicians at the same time as they're looking for a diagnosis, will refer (kids) to therapy," explained Noritz during an interview with Reuters Health.

Noritz also pointed out that muscular dystrophies and cerebral palsy are among the most common pediatric neuromotor disorders and that they can be both detected and treated sooner when regular screenings are performed.

Meghann Lloyd, a motor development expert from the University Of Ontario Institute Of Technology, clarified that the developmental stages of children also have normal variations. This means that one should not be overly concerned if a baby is a few months behind for milestones such as walking.

Lloyd explained that several motor problems and longer delays are good reasons to bring kids to the pediatrician for a proper evaluation.

"Other types of movements that don't seem right, like a tremor or a rigidity or some sort of repetitive motor movement would be another red flag for me," she added.

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