ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill., Feb. 23, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A toddler waddles when he walks. An infant always uses the same hand to bring toys to her mouth. Both are signs of physical developmental delays – when a child's physical activities are not performed around the same time or at the same level as other children of the same age.
Some physical – or motor – delays are obvious, but even children who appear to achieve milestones by the typical age can have subtle differences in how they perform activities.
Now, a new tool by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy can help parents tell when a child's physical development may be cause for concern. The interactive tool, "Physical Developmental Delays: What to Look For" (http://motordelay.aap.org/) helps parents of children ages 5 and younger assess their child's motor development.
"All children develop at different rates, including different rates for achieving motor milestones. Many children who have delayed motor milestones don't necessarily have serious problems, but some do," said Gary Noritz, M.D., FAAP, a member of the Executive Committee of the AAP Council on Children with Disabilities. "Parents are pretty good at watching their children develop, so if they have concerns, they should trust their gut and talk with their child's pediatrician about their concerns and what they can do to improve their child's motor development."
Concerns about development should be addressed with a pediatrician sooner rather than later because physical developmental delays can be signs or symptoms of a serious medical condition, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy.
Pediatricians hope the tool will be a first step to identifying children who have a motor delay, and linking them to appropriate therapy or other assistance.
"The new tool is an easy-to-use resource for parents to assess concerns about their child's physical development. By equipping parents with the information they need to talk with their child's pediatrician, CDC hopes to shorten the amount of time from a parents' first concern to when their child receives a diagnosis and begins receiving services," said Georgina Peacock, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP, director of CDC's Division of Human Development and Disability.
The tool includes descriptions of physical development grouped by age and activity. Clicking on specific concerns creates a list that can be taken to a pediatrician visit. The tool also has tips for talking with a pediatrician, resources for physical delays and videos that show examples of normal and delayed development for some activities.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 64,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org or follow us at @AmerAcadPeds
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SOURCE American Academy of Pediatrics