Developmental Retardation (Developmental Delays, Growth Retardation)

Developmental Retardation
Body Parts: Whole Body
Medical Subjects: Children's Health

What Is Developmental Retardation?

What is developmental delay?

Infantile developmental delay refers to the phenomenon that the speed is reduced or stopped during the growth and development process, which is lower than the normal development level of children of the same age. It includes major movements, fine movements, language, social and other physical and mental movements.

It generally refers to that children under 6 years old have two or more obvious lagging performances in the development fields such as gross/fine motor, language, cognition, social/personal, and daily activity ability.

At what age do children begin to grow and develop normally?

Growth refers to the growth of infants and children's body organs and systems, which is often measured by height, weight, sitting height, head circumference, chest circumference, upper arm circumference and subcutaneous fat.

Development refers to the maturation of individual tissues and organs of infants and children.

Growth and development are important characteristics of children different from adults, which are constantly carried out in the whole childhood. Different ages have different characteristics, and the growth rate of different ages is also different. Growth and development are closely related, and growth is the material basis for development.

Is developmental delay common?

Developmental delay in children is one of the developmental disabilities, which is common in children and the prevalence rate is about 1%–3%.


What Is The Cause Of Developmental Retardation?

What causes developmental delay in children?

The cause of infantile growth retardation are manifold, including:

  • Genetic factors: familial short stature or short stature of parents can be manifested.
  • Pregnancy factors: Nutrition, emotion, drugs, radiation, environment and other factors of pregnant women can have a great impact on the growth and development of the fetus.
  • Nutrition and distribution: children's insufficient nutrition supply and imbalanced nutrition components play an important role in growth and development.
  • Chronic diseases: such as chronic infection, chronic liver disease, malnutrition, congenital heart disease, and congenital renal tubular disease can lead to growth retardation in children.
  • Endocrine diseases: such as hypothyroidism, pituitary dwarfism and ﹑Turner syndrome can lead to related manifestations of developmental delay.

What are the characteristics of children with developmental delays? Which children are prone to developmental delays?

  • High risk infants including premature birth, perinatal asphyxia, and kernicterus (bilirubin encephalopathy).
  • A baby with a congenital defect.
  • Babies requiring hospitalization within a few months of birth due to various illnesses.
  • Babies whose mothers have been exposed to banned substances or alcohol during pregnancy.
  • For infants whose siblings have significant developmental delay or autism, children with autism in general often have different degrees of developmental delay.

Will developmental delay be inherited?

Developmental delay is not necessarily hereditary.

Inheritance is analyzed from the etiology of developmental delay:

  • Such as familial short stature associated with congenital genetic factors, constitutional developmental delay or developmental delay caused by chromosomal abnormalities (Down's syndrome, Turner's syndrome).
  • Such as chronic diseases, chronic malnutrition diseases, and developmental delay caused by partial endocrine diseases.

What Is The Symptoms Of Developmental Retardation?

What are the common manifestations of developmental retardation?

The manifestations of stunting in children are multifaceted and require comprehensive observation and observation, including:

  • Physical developmental delay, such as short stature, height, weight, and head circumference lower than those of children of the same age.
  • Mental retardation with possible manifestation of mental retardation.
  • Motor developmental delay, such as infants sitting alone, crawling, turning over, walking, running and other movements behind the normal level of infants.
  • Language, visual and auditory developmental delay, such as low level of speaking and expression understanding, etc.
  • Backward in psychological development.
  • Others: agenesis of secondary sexual characteristics, etc.

Clinically, growth retardation is mainly manifested as short stature, with or without mental retardation, and non-development of secondary sexual characteristics.

What are the serious consequences of developmental retardation?

The performance of developmental delay is often multifaceted, with physical developmental delay, such as low height and weight, accompanied by motor development and intellectual development delay. However, it can also be highlighted on one hand.

Short stature, microcephaly, mental retardation, language communication disorder, learning disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other consequences can occur, such as developmental delay caused by endocrine related diseases, which may affect the whole body and multiple systems.


How To Check Developmental Retardation?

What tests are needed for the diagnosis of developmental delay?

  • Height, weight, head circumference measurement, if the child's height, weight, head circumference measurement values are all low, that means the child's development may appear comprehensive delay.
  • Patients were admitted to local community hospitals for scale evaluation, such as Minnesota Scale for Child Development, Parents Assessment Scale for Child Development, and Age, Developmental Behavior Questionnaire for family use.
  • For children with positive screening, hormone levels (such as growth hormone and thyroid function) and trace elements (such as cadmium, lead, copper, zinc, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, iodine, selenium, and phosphorus in whole blood, serum, hair and urine) as well as X-ray examination, hematuria tandem mass spectrum and gene examination should be further improved.

Why should the above check be done for developmental delay? What should be paid attention to during these inspections?

  • Hormone levels (including growth hormone and thyroid function): It is possible to determine whether there is any dementia, growth hormone deficiency, etc.
  • Trace elements (cadmium, lead, copper, zinc, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, iodine, selenium, phosphorus, etc. in whole blood, serum, hair and urine): to determine whether there is trace element deficiency, etc.
  • X-ray examination: to know the bone age and bone development, etc.
  • Hematuria Tandem Mass Spectrometry: To investigate the amino acid metabolism level and whether genetic metabolism problems are combined.
  • Gene examination: to know whether there are any gene defects, gene mutations and family heredity.

Is developmental delay the same as mental retardation?

No. Mental retardation is a manifestation of developmental delay, a neurodevelopmental disease characterized by intellectual and adaptive deficits before the age of 18 years. Different patients with mental retardation have different manifestations, such as functions, needs and strengths. Some patients with developmental delay may not be accompanied by mental retardation, and only show that their height, weight and head circumference are lower than those of their peers.

What is the difference between developmental delay and cerebral palsy?

Developmental delay refers to the phenomenon that the speed is reduced or stopped during the growth and development process, which is lower than the normal development level of children of the same age. It can be caused by genetic, congenital defects, systemic diseases and other factors. Pediatric cerebral palsy refers to cerebral hypoplasia, mainly due to motor dysfunction caused by non-progressive brain injury.

Cerebral palsy lesions located in the brain, involving the four limbs, often accompanied by developmental delay, backward performance, such as mental retardation, epilepsy, behavioral abnormalities, mental disorders and visual, auditory, language disorders and other symptoms.


How To Prevent Developmental Retardation?

Can developmental retardation be prevented?

Developmental delay can be prevented to some extent.

Mainly for children under 6 years of age. Including regular and continuous measurement of height, weight and head circumference. Parents screen their children regularly with a standardized family screening scale and, if problematic, visit a community hospital for further evaluation or screening and, if necessary, a specialist outpatient clinic to identify the cause.


How To Treat Developmental Retardation?

Which department should you visit for developmental delay?

Pediatric growth retardation usually requires a visit to the Department of Child Health, the Department of Child Development and Behavior, or the Pediatric Endocrinology department.

How to treat developmental delay?

Treatment is base on that etiology of developmental delay.

Developmental delay caused by nutritional deficiency: Reasonable nutrition, a comprehensive and balanced diet, good eating habits, and promotion of appetite are needed.

Primary diseases, such as developmental delay caused by chronic diseases, should be actively treated for systemic diseases.

Familial short stature, idiopathic short stature and constitutional growth require a visit to the pediatric endocrinology department with appropriate use of growth hormone.

Congenital genetic and metabolic diseases such as hypothyroidism and pituitary dwarf require special treatment and symptomatic treatment, and hormone treatment when necessary.

Does developmental delay need surgery to treat?

Not necessarily. According to the etiology, some patients need surgery, such as developmental delay caused by congenital heart disease. At the same time, if the specific type, location and size of congenital heart disease meet the surgical indications, surgery is required. However, most children only need medical treatment.

How to reexamine in the process of treatment of developmental delay?

During growth hormone therapy, follow-up visits are usually conducted at regular intervals of three months to measure height and weight, ask for any discomfort, and examine blood glucose, thyroid hormones and insulin-like growth factors. Bone age is reviewed every year for efficacy and related side effects, so that medications can be adjusted in a timely manner.

What is the prognosis of developmental delay? Does it affect the child's future?

This should be analyzed on a case-by-case basis.

According to the specific analysis of the cause of the child's developmental delay. Each child's constitution and condition are different, so the treatment and prognosis are also different. For example, if the developmental delay caused by malnutrition is intervened and treated in time, the prognosis will be generally good and the influence on the future will be little.

However, for children with cerebral palsy or children with combined language developmental disorders, the prognosis is poor and the long-term quality of life of children is also greatly affected.


What Should Patients With Developmental Delay Pay Attention To In Life?

What should children with developmental delay pay attention to in their diet?

  • Promote and encourage breastfeeding, if the lack of breast milk, should be reasonable mixed feeding.
  • Appropriately supplement animal milk or soybean milk, and never separately supply starch, malting milk, condensed milk, etc.
  • Children, reasonable collocation food ingredients. In addition to protein food, fresh vegetables should be properly replenished to ensure adequate supply of calories and nutrients.

What should children with developmental delay pay attention to in life?

Parents should pay attention to the situation of their children, and if there is any discomfort, they should see a doctor in time. At the same time, short stature cannot be treated by medication alone. Good and healthy living habits contribute to growth and development, including balanced nutrition, proper exercise, good sleep, and a pleasant mood.

Does developmental delay affect fertility?

Not sure. Not in children with general physical developmental delay, but if children with combined sexual developmental delay, need to be evaluated after the end of adolescent development, in some cases can affect fertility.

What kind of sports are suitable for children with developmental delays?

Do more jumping sports, such as running, playing ball, jumping rope, etc., to avoid weight bearing and compression of the movement.

What can parents of children with developmental delay do?

  • If the child is at high risk, parents will need regular developmental testing and outpatient follow-up.
  • If you don't have a history of high risk and are slightly behind your peers in development, you may want to strengthen your exercise or communication and get physical exams at a community hospital on a regular basis.
  • If a development index is delayed for more than 2–3 months, the child development assessment shall be conducted in relevant departments in time, and rehabilitation training shall be conducted when necessary.

Related Articles