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Autism Developmental Delay

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Children reach developmental milestones at their own speed, and some move more quickly than others. In fact, even siblings in the same family might reach milestones at varying speeds.

Minor and temporary delays are generally not a cause for worry. However, multiple delays or an ongoing delay in attaining milestones can be an indication that there might be problems later in life.

Delay in achieving thinking, motor, social, or language skills milestones is known as developmental delay. A developmental delay might be due to a number of factors, including premature birth, hereditary reasons, and complications during pregnancy. The exact reason isn't always known.

In this article, we will look at one of the most common types of development delay, i.e., autism developmental delay.

Autism Developmental Delay

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to a developmental disability that occurs due to differences in the brain. According to scientists, there are several causes of ASD that work together to alter the most common ways people develop. Nevertheless, there is still a lot that we need to learn about these causes and how they impact individuals with ASD.

People who have ASD might communicate, behave, learn, and interact in ways that are different from most other people. There's usually nothing about their appearance that differentiates them from other people. The skills and abilities of people with ASD can differ considerably. For instance, some people who have ASD might have advanced conversation skills, whereas others might be nonverbal. Some individuals with ASD require a lot of help in their everyday lives, whereas others can live and work with minimal support.

ASD starts before the age of 3 years and can last throughout an individual's life even though symptoms might gradually improve. Certain children show ASD symptoms within the first year of their life. In other children, symptoms might not show up until 2 years of age or later. Moreover, certain children with ASD meet developmental milestones and acquire new skills until around two years of age, and then they stop learning new skills or lose the skills they had previously learnt.

As children who have ASD become young adults, they might have trouble communicating with adults and peers, developing and maintaining friendships, or understanding what behaviors are expected on the job or in school.

When Missing Development

al Milestones Might Indicate Autism?

There are several reasons why children miss developmental milestones. In a lot of cases, there is no specific cause for concern. This is because:

  1. Children are different from each other and naturally develop at different speeds.

  2. Children who are born prematurely might miss some milestones but generally always catch up.

  3. Girls are usually faster in development than boys. However, boys almost always catch up.

  4. Several children are so focused on specific milestones that they might miss out on others. For instance, an extremely physically adept child might reach advanced physical milestones and then later catch up on social milestones.

  5. Medical obstacles early in life might hinder development; however, most children can catch up to their same-age peers.

  6. Some correctable obstacles, such as hearing difficulties, can slow early development but have minimal impact on long-term development.


This brings us to the question – when should parents feel concerned about autism? The CDC offers a list of problems that should be a cause for concern:

  1. Inability to work with basic toys (such as turning handles, simple puzzles, pegboards)

  2. Inability to speak in sentences

  3. Inability to comprehend basic and simple instructions

  4. Does not play make-believe or pretend

  5. Does not like to play with toys or children

  6. Does not make eye contact

  7. Loss of previously acquired skills.


While these problems can indicate autism, however, they might not be. There are high chances of autism when children have more than one of these problems or have other related problems in the emotional/social or communication realm.

Can Monitoring Developmental Milestones for Autism be Misleading?

In certain cases, children with autism might miss several milestones and have obvious and clear developmental delays. Nevertheless, missed milestones can often be cloaked or even invisible. This is because children who have autism arent just delayed; they learn and behave differently from their usual peers.

Additionally, autism is seldom obvious from birth. Several children who have autism develop normally for some time period and then either slow down, develop differently, or regress. Due to these problems, it can be challenging to identify autism only by keeping an eye out for missed developmental milestones.

How Can Autism Developmental Delay Be Hidden or Masked?

Certain children who have autism have severe behavioral challenges, cognitive delays, or physical stims (flapping or rocking) that make it clear that something is amiss. However, many autistic kids have mild or few delays, stims, or challenges. In that case, developmental delays might be tough to identify. Here are some groups of children whose developmental delays might not be obvious until communication, emotional, or social demands increase:

  1. Girls: Autism usually makes children become socially withdrawn, quiet, and less likely to speak out or raise their hands. They might appear inattentive or dreamy. Such behaviors are culturally appropriate for girls in many parts of the world. Therefore, young girls who don't meet developmental milestones might slip under the radar. They're generally labelled as quiet and shy.

  2. Children with incredible intelligence: Some children who have autism are extremely bright or have amazing skills that are way beyond their years. For instance, certain children with autism can read at an incredibly young age, solve difficult puzzles, or demonstrate music, computer, or math skills. In such cases, teachers and parents might not be able to notice that the same kid who can solve challenging math problems is unable to catch a ball or play imaginatively.


Last Few Words

If you notice an autism developmental delay in your child, make sure to reach out to Accel Therapies. We offer only the best quality treatment programs and therapy services to assist children with autism spectrum disorders and a vast range of other needs to help them attain their developmental goals, realize their maximum potential, and improve their quality of life.


Learn more here

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