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The pace of your child's development may be due influenced by factors such as his/her personality temperament, or the home environment.
At some point, you might ask, "How do I know if my child is developing well?" and you may compare your child's physical, intellectual and behavioural development to that of your relative's or neighbour's child of the same age.
A preschooler likes to explore the world around him by jumping, running and playing. He/ she learns to do many things on his/ her own, like feeding and dressing himself/ herself, and may prefer to use the toilet alone. In terms of speech and language, he/ she progresses from speaking in single words to complete sentences. Socially, he/ she will be increasingly aware of his environment. and will also learn how to interact with people and establish relationships with family members and peers.
For more information, refer to the 15 to 18 months and 2 to 3 years old Developmental Checklist for parents in the Health Booklet.
How to support my child's development?
The term "developmental delay" is used to describe a child who is slower to achieve developmental milestones than other children at that given age.
Developmental disabilities are a group of conditions due to an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behaviour areas (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). These conditions typically arise in the early years of life, and may affect the way a person moves, communicates, thinks, learns and behaves throughout his/ her life. Common developmental disabilities that affect children include autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and dyslexia.
It is important for parents understand typical child development, and to flag up any concerns early, so that the child can receive early intervention and maximise his potential in the long run.
Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have difficulties in social communication and have repetitive patterns of behaviour. They may also have unusual interests and may process sensory information (e.g. how things look, smell, taste, sound, feel etc) differently.
Here are some red flags, which may suggest ASD:
If you have any concerns that your child may have ASD, discuss these with your child's doctor as early intervention is crucial for your child's optimal development.
Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder may have difficulty paying attention, controlling their impulses, or be overly active, compared to other children their age.
A child with ADHD may
Excessive screen time exposure in children and insufficient sleep can result in poor attention, difficulties in controlling impulses and hyperactivity. These symptoms may be similar to those seen in ADHD. Do refer to our Healthhub resources on
screen time exposure in children for more information.
If despite ensuring healthy screen time exposure and sufficient sleep, your child continues to have above behavioural concerns, discuss these concerns with your child's doctor.
Dyslexia, or specific learning disorder with impairment in reading, is a language-based learning disability. Children with dyslexia have difficulties in reading, spelling and writing. There is an unexpected gap between a child's potential for learning and his or her academic achievement. It is not caused by vision problems or intellectual disability.
Common symptoms of dyslexia include:
If you are concerned that your child may have some symptoms suggestive of dyslexia or other learning difficulties, discuss these concerns with your child's doctor. While a formal dyslexia assessment can only be done after a child is 6-7 years old, younger at-risk children can receive appropriate intervention without the formal diagnosis.
You are encouraged to bring your child to your family doctor, doctor at the polyclinic or your child's paediatrician for a developmental assessment.
It will be helpful to speak to your child's other caregivers (if any) and preschool teachers (if your child attends school), to understand your child's behaviours, learning and function in different settings.
The doctor may refer your child to one of the following for further evaluation:
For children who are not yet in primary school
For children in primary school
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is meant purely for educational purposes and may not be used as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should seek the advice of your doctor or a qualified healthcare provider before starting any treatment or if you have any questions related to your health, physical fitness or medical condition.
This article was last reviewed on
Monday, June 28, 2021
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