Common Contributing Factors to Developmental Delays

913690_10151441812087083_925585408_o (1) Despite the growing awareness and prevalence of children being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, there is an even greater number of children with varying levels of developmental delays. According to the CDC 1 in 6 american children have a developmental delay. Though not all children who have developmental delays fall within the diagnosis of autism, many struggle with symptoms common to it. Autism is diagnosed based on a broad spectrum of evolving symptoms, and it does not include the causes of symptoms, so contributing factors occasionally get overlooked. There is no specific protocol within one discipline to treat the array of symptoms in autism or many other pediatric disorders. Our approach at Great Kids Therapy is not to treat a specific diagnosis, but an individual’s needs. We treat every child holistically; addressing symptoms with causes in mind, to ensure best practice and thorough patient care.

“Autistic” symptoms may be a combination of: Immunological, Gastro-intestinal, Neurological Disturbances

Each system has a circuitous effect on the other to varying degrees. Think of a time you had a severe cold: your immune system was bombarded, lights were too bright, your balance was poor, your mood was low, you had a poor appetite. Many patients and caregivers are not aware of the connection between these processes, despite the commonality of dysfunction in several or all of them surfacing simultaneously or sequentially. Disorder in any or all of these 3 systems may cause the following symptoms:

o High or low energy levels o hyper/hypo/or distorted sensory processing including: visual, auditory, motor and coordination, taste and smell o sleep dysregulation o emotional behavioral issues- low-self-esteem, temper tantrums, depression, anxiety o feeding concerns o constipation/diarrhea/indigestion/acid reflux o hyper or hypo levels of concentration to tasks o Allergies o Increased susceptibility to “common colds” and other illnesses o Social/communication abnormalities o Low/high muscular tone

Any or all of these symptoms occurring over a sustained period of time (particularly in the first five years of life) may cause or increase developmental delays. This is information to help guide thinking and bring awareness to all potential factors that may be impacting your child. Whether or not this applies to you, I hope one message remains clear, developmental delays are not to be taken lightly and should be addressed as early as possible; as life becomes more demanding with age, a developmental delay may cause a domino affect on your child’s functioning. Being proactive is Key for your child to reach their full potential.

For more information or for a free screening please contact us.

Sarah Meinhardt

Great Kids Therapy

University Medical Center

2829 S University Drive, Suite 202

Fargo, ND 58103

Ph: 701-261-4643; Fax: 701-293-0981