The pace of your child's development may be due to factors such as his/her personality or the home environment.
ADHD, dyslexia, autism and other developmental delays
Every child develops at a different pace. Some children learn things earlier, others need more time. The rate of your child's development may be due to factors such as his personality or the home environment.
At some point, you might ask, “How do I know if my child is developing normally?” and you may compare your child’s physical, intellectual and behavioural development to that of your relative or neighbour’s child of the same age.
What is normal development for a pre-schooler?
A pre-schooler likes to explore the world around him by jumping, running and playing. He learns to do many things on his own, like feeding and dressing himself, and may prefer to use the toilet alone. Speech-wise, he progresses from single words to complete sentences. Socially, he will be more aware of his environment and learn how to interact with people and establish relationships with family members and peers.
Awareness and early detection of developmental delays and disabilities
We know some children cannot sit still, cannot pronounce words well, do not follow instructions no matter how you phrase them, or blurt out inappropriate comments at inappropriate times. Some children who display such behaviours may have developmental delays or developmental disabilities.
You can track your child’s developmental milestones using the checklist in the sections below, and in your child's Health Booklet.
What is a developmental delay?
The term “developmental delay” is used to describe a child who is slower to reach developmental milestones than other children in the way he moves, communicates, thinks, learns and behaves. Developmental delays can be temporary or permanent.
What is a developmental disability?
Developmental disability is a term that refers to a permanent mental and/or physical impairment that occurs in the early years of life. This disability usually results in the child being affected in the way he moves, communicates, thinks, learns and behaves. Common developmental disabilities that affect children are Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Dyslexia.
It is important for parents to be aware of and detect developmental delays and developmental disabilities early, so that the child can receive help on time and maximise his potential in the long run.
Red flags for autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have difficulties in communication, problem-solving and social skills.
Below are the red flags for ASD in the areas of social interaction, communication, behaviour and sensory experiences.
Socially, a child with ASD
In terms of communication, a child with ASD
Behaviour-wise, a child with ASD
For sensory experiences, a child with ASD
Red flags for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are over-active and display impulsive and inattentive behaviour. This behaviour is generally more frequent and intense than in other children of the same age.
A child with ADHD may
You can seek help when your child’s behaviour exhibits problems with several areas highlighted in the above checklist and
You can consider waiting and watching if your child’s behaviour
Red flags for dyslexia
Dyslexia is a learning disability that occurs when the brain does not properly recognise and process certain symbols. It is not caused by vision problems. Most people with dyslexia have normal or even above-average intelligence.
A child with dyslexia may have difficulties reading, writing and counting, as these aspects use symbols to convey information. Dyslexia often runs in families.
Below are the red flags for dyslexia.
A 3-5 year-old child with dyslexia may:
A 5-6 year-old child with dyslexia may:
A 6-7 year-old child with dyslexia may:
How to seek help
You may wish to speak to your child’s caregivers and preschool teachers to check your observations against different settings.
You might want to find out about your child’s behaviour and learning during lessons, and how your child gets along with his/her classmates.
You are encouraged to bring your child to the family doctor, doctor at the polyclinic or paediatrician for a Developmental Screening Assessment.
The doctor may refer your child to one of the following for further evaluation and follow-up:
Health Promotion Board