Baby Development,  Psychology

Signs of Developmental Delays (0-3 years)

I thought it might be a fun idea to share some psychology information here and there on my blog, as it relates to child development and my boys’ current developmental stages.

Current life update

For those who are new readers, I am a twin mom blogger who works part time and stays at home part-time. However, right now I am staying at home full time for the summer break and will be taking my school psychology praxis exam in August!

With the exam prep in mind, it made me think alot about my boys’ growth and development and some possible signs to look for when making identifications for possible disabilities.

With every student that comes on my caseload, I always conduct a thorough review of their medical, family, and educational history. One of the things that is considered is to check if there are any medical diagnoses as well as noted developmental delays or birthing complications, as it may contribute to an understanding of why a student may be struggling in school. It is important to closely follow up and make proactive efforts for early intervention if there are any risks for academic failure.

What is a school psychologist?

Just a quick overview on what a school psychologist actually does! We are not psychiatrists or clinical psychologists in the field of medicine. We are also different from school counselors or school social workers in the educational setting. Though we engage in similar practices such as counseling and evaluations, school psychologists have a more prominnent role in the field of special education.

We do not make medical diagnoses, but rather make identifications for special education needs. We are trained in utilizing psychometric tools and interpreting assessment results to make appropriate individualized education plans for the students’ success.

We play a major role in eligibility decisions and have knowledge on education law. Depending on needed level of support, we may provide intervention, services, support, consultation for student, family, and staff.

DISCLAIMER! please note: any information shared here is from my education and experience as a mom and psych student/intern. It is not, nor intended to be, therapy or psychological advice. Please see a medical professional if you ever have concerns for yourself or your child.

What is a developmental delay?

A developmental delay is a significant disruption in one or more of the major developmental areas (physical, cognition, communication, social emotional, adaptive) likely to have a negative impact in school performance.

Temporary disruptions can include emotional ups and downs, delayed walking or talking, but a developmental delay will have long lasting impact on child, with a need for support for living or social education.

Some things to keep in mind about developmental delays

Well baby checkups are so important not only for vaccinations but also to make sure your child ia developing appropriately and meeting those milestones! Make sure you take your child to all those checkups! Pediatricians can make early identifications and appropriate care for any possible disabilities.

Be familiar with some signs of developmental delay!

Severe disabilities, such as down syndrome and motor-related disabilities are usually identified at birth or within the first year. However as a child continues to develop, other mild to severe concerns in communication delays or social deficits in autism may be detected. As a parent, we can also make referrals for evaluations if we suspect a disability in any area of development.

By the 12 months, does your child

  • develop a consistent sleep/wake pattern?
  • calm and soothe with familiar caregivers (secure attachment)?
  • have balanced movement and coordination in upright positions (sitting, walking)?
  • chew and swallow variety of foods?
  • use sounds and gestures to communicate?

By 3 years, does your child

  • use motor play skills?
  • use fingers and hands to draw, build, and play with small toys?
  • engage in parallel and cooperative play with peers?
  • have vocabulary growth and use longer sentences for communication?
  • use eating utensils, dress/undress self, use toilet independently?
  • learn simple concepts (opposites)?
  • match actions to appropriate objects (functional play)?

Please make considerations to take your child to a medical doctor for an evaluation if you have concerns in any developmental area! It is always better to make efforts to begin early intervention, if there are any developmental delays. Developmental and mental health treatments are always individualized to the person in need.


Slentz, Kristine. (2010). Early Childhood Disabilities and Special Education. National Association of School Psychologists. Helping Children at Home and School III, SEH14-1-4.

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