I had this conversation with a parent yesterday and it resonated with me. When my son was born 9 years ago, we were told at birth that he would have developmental delays in his growth (caused by foetal distress) – that was as far as I knew. I did not search further to know why a child should have developmental delays neither did I find out more information about developmental delays. Although at some point I suspected there was something wrong with him, I was always fobbed off with the fact that he was a “boy and boys are usually slow”, “oh an only child, if I could just have another child” by family members and friends. As a result of this, his autism was not dictated until he was 7. So discussing with the parent yesterday, I realised how cultural beliefs influences some choices and decisions we make.

To every parent of a child with any form of delay, educating yourself on the causes, symptoms and features of delayed development should be the first thing you must do. Having information and knowledge about the delay will help you when talking with the doctor, the professionals or even family members. And if your child is diagnosed with any form of disability, your first approach should be collection of information about your child’s disability, this will help with Early Intervention, services and treatment that are available, it will help to identify your child’s specific needs and the specific things you can do to help your child develop to the fullest extent possible. Collecting and using the information available on disability issues is a critical part of being a parent of a child with special needs.

Let’s meet here tomorrow to learn the symptoms, features and characteristics of Developmental Disabilities.