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Cognitive & Social Functioning Delays: Adapting Instruction for Learners

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  • 0:05 Developmental Milestones
  • 1:09 Developmental Delay
  • 2:26 Cognitive Delay
  • 4:20 Social Delay
  • 5:42 Teaching Delayed Students
  • 6:48 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Valerie Houghton, Ph.D.

Valerie holds a Ph.D. in Health Psychology.

When growing up, keeping pace with your classmates can be difficult, but for some it's much harder than others. In this lesson we will explore cognitive and social developmental milestones in terms of the developmental delays that affect school-age children.

Developmental Milestones

Child development is a process that involves children learning more complex skills as they get older. For example, a 3-month old child is not able to feed him or herself, but a 3-year old child is. There are five types of developmental skills used by pediatricians to determine if a child has reached his or her developmental milestones, events that measure whether a child is advanced, normal or delayed in development.

  1. Gross Motor: sitting, walking, running
  2. Fine Motor: holding silverware, getting dressed
  3. Language: speaking, understanding what others say
  4. Cognitive: thinking, problem-solving and learning
  5. Social: interacting with others, relationships, cooperating

Although each child is unique and will meet the developmental milestone at his or her own pace, there is a definitive block of time when most children will reach a milestone. For example, the gross motor milestone for children walking is between nine and 15 months. If a child is walking before nine months, they are considered to be developmentally advanced; if they walk within the nine to 15 month range, they are considered to be developmentally normal; and if they are not walking by the time they are 24 months old, they are considered to be developmentally delayed.

Developmental Delay

A developmental delay occurs when a child doesn't reach his or her developmental milestones at the expected time. Developmental delays can be caused by a variety of situations, such as being born with abnormalities, environmental factors and neglect. Some children are delayed in only one area of development, while others may be delayed in multiple areas. Typically, a child with a developmental delay is able to eventually catch up with his or her peers and thus should no longer be classified as delayed. This is much different than a child having a developmental disability.

Walking between ages 9-15 months is a gross motor milestone
Walking Developmental Milestone

A developmental delay and a developmental disability sound like the same thing, but they are not. They are often confused with each other because they are both measured by the same developmental milestones. A child with a developmental disability has a life-long disadvantage. He or she could also be developmentally delayed, but a child with a delay does not necessary have a disability. A child with a developmental delay is merely in a temporary situation until he or she is able catch up with peers. Examples of developmental disabilities include autism and cerebral palsy.

Now we will discuss cognitive and social developmental milestones in terms of the developmental delays that affect school-age children.

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