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 The inability to concentrate on a single task, acting withdrawn, fearful or overly aggressive, difficulty separating from parents, and trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality are also red flags.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!