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Masters in Educational Practice: Child and adolescent development 0-19


Typical and atypical development


Identification of delay and disorder

In school, delay can be identified by:

  • screening learners
  • teachers or parents/carers conversing and recognising ‘red flags’ in the learners development, i.e. signs or symptoms causing concern compared to other children of a similar age
  • parental concerns. A good relationship with families is beneficial to the learner’s development as communication regarding the child’s development is essential to the child’s progression
  • known risk factors before starting school may be reported, e.g. prematurity, delay in milestones, family history of developmental disorder or identified learning difficulties or disabilities. Teachers may wish to avail themselves of all possible background information about the learner they’re concerned about.

When does delay become disordered?

  • There is a need to differentiate between a learner not being able to do a task because they have no prior experience, and a learner who cannot do a task compared to a learner of a similar age.
  • If a child who is exposed to the same levels of appropriate and sufficient teaching as other children does not learn the skill, then this is likely to indicate significant difficulties.
  • A child may start off being delayed in their development, but this may become disordered in the manner in which they do a task or action. This can have longer term impact on outcomes.

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