Red flags in a child’s development parents must never ignore

Every child his or her own pace of development, but there are some definitive signs that indicate a deeper problem and warrant an immediate medical consultation.

We’ve compiled a list of generic developmental delays/issues that all parents must be aware of to realize that their child needs help. Please note that these signs do not necessarily mean that your child has brain damage or mental health issues, but if you find yourself agreeing to the issues listed below, you must see a doctor right away.

There are some signs that are big red flags in themselves. Even if the child does not show any other symptom, this one symptom calls for a consultation. Such issues have been marked with an asterisk sign (*) in the list below.

If, god forbid, your child demonstrates these delays, and you need help/guidance on the next steps, feel free to reach out to Tamahar via our FB page, website or the contact form given on this blog. You can also visit us our centre at Malleshwaram, Bangalore. (Near Malleshwaram Railway Station)

SIGNS OF DEVELOPMENTAL DELAY

Pregnancy

  1. Complications during the 9 months of pregnancy.
  2. Excessive vomiting etc, even after the 4th month of pregnancy.
  3. Baby not moving adequately inside the womb till birth.

Delivery

  1. Pain and contractions before the bag burst and the water leaked.
  2. Caesarian delivery due to problems during birth.
  3. Baby did not cry soon or right after birth.

Age : 0-1 year

  1. Baby excessively quiet or cranky in the hospital after birth, or continued to be quiet or cranky in the next 4-5 months.
  2. Baby unable to suck/breast feed in the days following the birth, or doing so with difficulty.
  3. Baby had breathing difficulty or a seizure episode soon after birth/stay at the hospital.
  4. Repetition of such problems after discharge, at home.
  5. Baby did not feed adequately.
  6. Baby did not pass urine easily.
  7. Baby not looking at the mother and the familiar faces after few weeks.
  8. Does not smile at them, hold on to the mother’s finger while feeding, settle down comfortably when picked up.
  9. Does not start holding up his/her head, roll over, reach out with hands, kick feet in air, laugh, gurgle, be startled by loud sounds or understand when scolded.
  10. Does not come up to sitting independently, stand up, take a few steps.
  11. Does not babble.
  12. Does not want to convey something when talking – not saying something meaningfully, but just randomly repeating words without any purpose.
  13. Does not enjoy songs/nursery rhymes or does not want to join in on the songs.
  14. Does not look at books/pictures.
  15. Does not point at things.

Age : 1-2 years

  1. Baby not comfortable with strangers and familiar people alike after 1 year of age.
  2. Not responding to command.
  3. Use of words restricted to 4-5 keywords.*
  4. No speaking in phrases.
  5. Falling down often.*
  6. Poor eye-hand coordination – unable to throw a ball in a bucket at a distance.*
  7. Difficulty in calming down. for example – continuous crying over trivial matters.*
  8. Inability to sleep for a long time.
  9. Peculiar tastes in food – Would not eat a certain texture of food, or a certain color of food.
  10. Walking started at an age of 1.5 yrs or higher.*

Age : 2-3 years

  1. Unable to re-tell a known story in the right sequence.
  2. Is not interested in keeping a conversation going.*
  3. Likes repetitive games.*
  4. Hyperactivity or complete disinterest (Either extreme).*
  5. No pretend play.*
  6. Not interested in books / not reading even picture books.

Age : 3-5 years(Pre-school)

  1. Hyperactivity.*
  2. No play with peers.*
  3. Staying by self in a group.*
  4. Very good imitation skills.
  5. Disruptive behavior with peers – pinching, pulling hair, biting, hitting.
  6. Repetition of classes over 2 years or more.*
  7. Inability to play with peers in park/playground environment.

Age : 5+ years (School)

  1. Inability to maintain friendships.*
  2. Consistently bad marks in subjects* – despite tuition/after school classes.
  3. Extremely Bad handwriting – illegible.*
  4. Continued disruptive behaviours.*
  5. Recurring symptoms like stomach pain, headache.*
  6. Hyperactivity may or may not happen.

 

 

Featured image : Painting of an Indian Mother by Ilayaraja

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What’s going on at the Tamahar trust

Today is just a normal Tuesday at the Tamahar trust. The children, staff and parents are following the same routine to reach their weekly and monthly goals. Yet, as I sit here writing this blog, I know that incredible things are happening around me. I could here a child cry with destess, but the crying faded, quickly replaced by the soothing tones of the music therapist. Other children are in school, learning Kannada or stitching. Each child is being taught different skills with different levels of support to allow them optimum success.

Downstairs, the kindergarten children are in play therapy. They are receiving one on one support to reach their individuals goals through playing with toys, teachers and reading. I can hear a child imitating their teachers animal noises!

As I walk through the school, I pass a small class of six learning Kannada- writing the alphabet and sounding it out. A similar class is taking place upstairs with different children.
I walk upstairs and am soothed by the gentle humming of the music teacher as she uses sounds and music to calm the children and encourage speech. I walk in to the room to see five young children. Two girls have laid their hands on the teachers knees and they giggle as the teacher places her hands gently on top of theirs. It is the sound of comfort and happiness which warms my soul.

The last room that I venture into is also a classroom. The children here are learning how to stitch and I sit with a boy who is struggling to thread his needle. He thanks me for his help and I point out which hole he should put he needle into next. We carry on like this for an hour and he completes the boarder around his piece of fabric. When it is completed, the fabric will have a green border with his name in yellow thead in the centre. He is so proud of his work and I am proud of him too.

Every day, every child here accomplishes something for us all to be proud of

Giving a child a chance

Every child here is so different, but there is no lack of wonderful opportunities to allow them all to succeed. Last Tuesday, I was pleased to be invited to play badminton with the children. A mother and I took four young boys to the local sport centre to play. There, the boys were assisted by professional sports coaches who ran a short warm up. The boys were then divided into two groups based on their abilities and taught accordingly. One group played over the court, trying to hit the shuttlecock over the net or catching it when it was thrown. The other group of boys could not play as well and so focused on how to hit the shuttlecock.

It was great to see the children be given an opportunity to do something that might not be available at home and also to allow them to succeed in something that is none academic. They thoroughly enjoyed the experience, laughing throughout. I could see their confidence and social levels rising throughout the hour and it is safe to say that we were all disappointed when it was time to leave!

It is vital to do these activities with the children, to develop their motor skills but also to improve their self esteem, which is so important. No one can function well in society without some form of confidence in their own capabilities, whether that be in schooling or sport. Experiences like this one are enjoyable and allow the children to develop socially

Inspiring stories

I want to take this opportunity to tell you about all of the little things that happen here, on a daily basis. They will be short narratives of things that I have seen happen at the Tamahar trust and the ways in which the children and staff achieve their goals.

A few weeks ago, I saw the beautiful calming effects of yoga therapy. One particular child was very distressed that day. He could not concentrate on the yoga and was struggling with fits. The teacher decided to tailor the class to him based on this and concentrated on vocal instead of physical yoga. After the half an hour session the boy had calmed considerably and was able to continue with the rest of his day.

Another wonderful story I have to share is one of a boy with cerebral palsy. He cannot walk, stand or move his arms well but he is an intelligent, charming young boy. In yoga therapy he was supported whilst standing to develop his leg muscles. Once standing, he insisted on dancing with all of the adults in the room! They say don’t run before you can walk, but maybe you can dance before you walk? This child’s humour and optimism warms everyone around him.

Getting to know you

Every child is unique and special in their own way and that means that every child works differently. Some children are only interested in music toys, whereas others thrive during complicated tasks like jigsaws.
When I first arrived at the Tamahar trust, I did not know any of the children. I couldn’t pronounce their names properly and didn’t know their ages or family history. Yet, I started working with the children and noting everything about them that I could. This process taught me the true value of knowing and understanding a child and how important that is.

After a few weeks of working with the same children on a daily basis, I came to know certain children quite well. Knowing what they can do and what they will do are the most important things to know because every child needs encouragement to progress. Yet, pressuring a child to do something that they cannot do, can be extremely demoralising for the child. I often find the children are extremely capable but struggle with tiredness or just don’t want to do the activity that you had planned. In times like this, it is important to adapt to the child’s needs and use your knowledge of the child to provide a fun or easier activity, so that the child can participate effectively.

I have come to know two girls particularly well and under guidance have watched their development over several weeks. One of these girls has been learning to raise her arms, which has taken a lot of support and encouragement from me and other staff, but being able to watch her get stronger very day is wonderful. This particular child often gets tired quickly but I have been taught how to watch out for this and have now worked out that singing and music aids this situation. Realisations like this take a while- I tried a lot of other things before singing! Yet, it is this dedication to truly understanding the children and all of their ways that makes the Tamahar staff so special. It was truly wonderful to help this child to achieve one of her goals but it was the support and teaching of the staff that allowed me to do that.

The other young girl who I have gotten to know quite well, is a very bubbly, loving young girl. She is always smiling and that makes me so happy! When I first started working with her, I was purely trying to increase her imitation in play but soon found that she loves colours and is always trying to say their names. So, for the next few days, we worked on several different activities together with coloured blocks or jigsaw pieces and I would tell her the colour names. After a few days, she was repeating the words perfectly! I was so proud.

All of the children here have barriers in the way of their development and learning, yet, their ability and desire to overcome these barriers is truly inspiring

Everyday miracles- The Tamahar trust

Every child has individual needs but some children’s needs are much greater. So what happens to these children? Often, they struggle greatly with schooling and fall quickly behind the rest of the class. These children have special needs and the Tamahar trust exists to make sure no child is left behind or excluded from schooling because of these needs. The Tamahar Trust of Bangalore offers schooling and therapy for babies upwards. The children here have various developmental disorders that require a series of constant and intense therapy sessions for at least a year. The aim of this is to alleviate some of the symptoms of these disorders and develop the children’s personal and interpersonal skills. Most children have one to one support to take part in yoga, art, dance and music therapy as well as regular schooling.

As a new intern at the Tamahar trust, it is my wish to use this blog to explore the beauty of the work that is done here. Whilst I only work at one of the three centres in Bangalore , I am sure that the work done by the Trust is as committed and supportive in each of the centres as it is here.

The Trust, founded by Vishali Pai, is run by a group of committed therapists and teachers, whilst being supported by the mothers of the children. Where possible, the mothers of the children that attend the center volunteer here to offer the one to one support to the children that I previously mentioned. This has the mutual advantage of allowing the women to develop skills and techniques for working with their own children. In my work day, I will dedicate myself to fully exploring all aspects of the center and wish to write about the every day miracles that happen here- a smile, a laugh, a child’s first word. To some, these may seem like simple things but to a mother, or a teacher, or a child who has been working their body and mind for months, that simple step is a small miracle

Normalcy is Overrated!!

This is how I feel each day when I go to Tamahar. Each day I understand life a little more..
It hasn’t been easy working here. Its an emotional roller coaster. Someday’s I feel – why teach these kids..to what end. And someday’s I come back with my head spinning with more ideas.

But the futility of mainstream education.. at least for the first 5-6 years is evident with each day as we work towards preparing them for the world and looking for that spark in their eyes..when they can match an alphabet to the picture or when they can point out to the correct answer for 5+2..

But then the pure joy and bliss comes when the kids actually function as a bunch of ‘normal’ kids..waiting for their turn to answer, or to throw the dice and count the objects, or to be the BIG lion trapped in the ‘dupatta that acts as a net’ so that a small mouse can come and cut away the net.

When one of them decides to take the lead in the morning after the prayers.. He/she goes..Stand at ease! Attention! Always twice before saying.. National anthem begins. And flawlessly in their pronunciations they sing the anthem with pride and enthusiasm.

And so many times I have seen people at movies munching on popcorn or get fidgety during the national anthem. These kids can probably teach them a thing or two about discipline and having fun while learning.
How then are they different from any other child?

Probably because our education system puts them in structured categories.

If ‘Tejaswini’ has difficulty in learning.. She is labelled as child with specific learning disabilities. I have difficulty in remembering dates..or doing simplest of Math calculations. I too then am a child with specific learning disability.
And am sure most of us are.

That’s all there is to know!!

Our mainstream educationists have simply not cracked teaching in a manner that each child can understand.. Unfortunately there is no single way. But the system also does not allow for adapting to various learning capabilities of a child. (‘Normal’ kids included)

I don’t know what to ask for, what blessings to give. For them love is enough.

But my heart goes out to the mothers and fathers..their families. The kids only need love..but sometimes the mothers need more. They also get tired. They loose focus. They wish for a different scenario.

And while its easy for me to ignore a child when required. I cannot expect same understanding from the parents day in and day out.

Tamahar plans to start a respite care centre.. Which will care for the kids while the parents can take time out.
Please send blessings for that dream to come through. Kids are taken care of. Parents need caring far more.

~Prarthana Patil