Understanding basic concepts of developmental diagnosis in children

Kelly A. Brown, Sonia Parikh, Dilip R. Patel


Developmental diagnosis is based on an understanding of basic concepts of typical and atypical developmental progression. Child development is influenced by multiple factors, including the development of the nervous system and other organ systems, and the child’s physical and social environment. Different factors interplay with each other in influencing the overall development of the child. Development and behavior of the child are intricately associated. Typical child development follows certain basic principles. Some of the more commonly reported developmental concerns include global developmental delay, intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, delayed speech and language, attention deficits, autism, and specific learning disabilities. The clinical presentation of atypical development varies, depending up on the age of the child; with motor delay in early infancy, and learning difficulties in school age child. Regular surveillance and periodic screening help identify specific areas of developmental and behavioral concerns and suggest a need for further appropriate psychological, medical and laboratory evaluation. The principles of management of a child with developmental concerns include early intervention and response to treatment approach, remediation, accommodation, and specific behavioral and pharmacological interventions when indicated.