Understanding Social-Emotional Delays

Difficulties with young children facing developmental delays can be stressful to parents and sometimes even heartbreaking. The child’s behavior is often frustrating and occasionally inexplicable to both them and the parent. If this is your experience, you’re not alone.

Stanford Children’s Health estimates that about 17% of children have a developmental delay that affects behavior. While often focusing on physical and cognitive delays, social and emotional issues are just as serious.

According to the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, the core features of emotional development include the ability to:

  • identify and understand one’s own feelings
  • accurately read and comprehend emotional states in others
  • manage strong emotions and their expression in a constructive manner
  • regulate one’s own behavior
  • develop empathy for others
  • establish and sustain relationships

A delay in this aspect of development can create a variety of social and learning difficulties. Low self-esteem can hinder how a child experiences what should be positive social situations, making it difficult for them to integrate with their peers. What should be safe, inclusive environments—such as a classroom or playground—become confusing and stressful places they want to avoid. The inability to relate to others or understand one’s own feelings can lead to uncontrollable emotion and even aggressive behavior.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel. Those with a social-emotional delay can be taught the necessary skills to succeed in the classroom and beyond.

It begins with early detection. Children begin their social and emotional development from birth, and should reach key milestones within their first few years of life. All children develop at different rates, but failure to develop certain abilities such as smiling, playing and interacting with others could be a cause for cncern. The inability to concentrate on a single task, acting withdrawn, fearful or overly aggressive, difficulty separating from parents, and trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality are also red flags.

Treatments That Put Your Child First

Children with social-emotional issues benefit from a structured learning environment where they can rely on a routine adapted to their specific needs. Creative Health Solutions designs its therapies with that in mind.

Our board-certified therapists create customized developmental learning experiences designed to improve interactions by focusing on attending to others, social engagement, expressive and receptive communications, motor skills, and use of senses.

Our therapeutic treatment modalities include seamlessly-integrated occupational therapy and speech-language pathology that target social and emotional development disorders. From obstacle courses that promote problem-solving skills to oral motor activities that help kids regulate their body by calming their nervous system and encouraging deep breathing, Creative’s OTs love utilizing hands-on therapies that let children play while learning. Check out our video page to see these activities in action!

We also utilize listening therapies that use sound and sometimes movement to create a foundation for attention, processing and behavior. And if you’re concerned about your child’s abilities to interact with and navigate the world, Creative’s school and life preparation program can help. It improves interactions by focusing on attending to others, social engagement, expressive and receptive communications, motor skills and use of senses. By addressing how to follow directions, participate in social situations and play with others, our program helps your child feel confident in their abilities and recover faster from any setbacks.

Our facility is designed to maximize the effectiveness of all our therapies by providing a fun and interactive environment that promotes success. It contains 13 custom treatment rooms furnished with the highest-quality equipment, quiet rooms, a fully-equipped kitchen and lunch room for feeding programs, plenty of space for therapists to work behind the scenes, and lots of natural light. We like to think of it as a haven where change begins.

We’re Here to Help

Creative Health Solutions is here to support you and your child whenever you’re ready to take the next step. If you’d like to discuss your specific situation, we offer a free consultation with our co-founder—with no commitment or obligation on your part. Call us today at 703-910-5006 or fill out the form for that free consultation (or to make an appointment).

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