At Hear 2 Learn, we believe in empowering children to achieve their full potential. Beyond hearing loss, below is information on some of the other types of developmental disabilities and delays that we see at Hear 2 Learn.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Autism, also known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a type of developmental disorder affecting an individual's social skills, communication skills and behavior.
Autism Signs and Symptoms
Autism symptoms, or signs of autism in children or adults, include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- Not looking at something when another person points at it out
- Challenges relating to others
- No interest in other people at all
- Avoiding eye contact
- A desire to be isolated
- Difficulties understanding other's feelings or discussing their own feelings
- Preferring not to be held
- Appearing unaware when people speak to them, but is responsive to other noises
- Very interested in people, but unfamiliar with how to talk, play or relate with others
- Repeating words or phrases that are said to them, or repeating words in place of normal language
- Difficulties communicating needs using typical words or motions
- Repeating actions multiple times
- Difficulties adapting to changes in a routine
- Reacting unusually to senses, such as taste, look, feel, sound or smell
- Loss of skills that the child or adult once had (such as the inability to say words they used previously)
What is Down Syndrome?
Down syndrome is the result of someone having an extra chromosome. A typical person is born with 46 chromosomes, while those with down syndrome have an extra copy of one of their chromosomes.
A Down Syndrome Test is Typically Used for a Down Syndrome Diagnosis
A typical down syndrome test is done during pregnancy. There are two types of down syndrome tests, a diagnostic test and a screening test. The screening form of a down syndrome test can determine if a pregnant woman's child has a lower or higher probability of having down syndrome. Because of this, a screening test can assist in determining if a diagnostic test is necessary. A screening test doesn't provide a definitive down syndrome diagnosis. However, a screening test is safer for the mother and baby.
Typically, the screening form of a down syndrome test combines a blood test and an ultrasound. If the ultrasound shows additional fluid behind a baby's neck, this could be a sign of a genetic issue. This can assist in evaluating a baby's risk for down syndrome.
A diagnostic down syndrome test is conducted following a positive screening test. There are multiple types of diagnostic down syndrome tests, including:
- Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) - this type of down syndrome test evaluates material from the placenta
- Amniocentesis - this type of down syndrome test is conducted on the amniotic fluid, which refers to the fluid from the sac surrounding the baby
- Percutaneous umbilical blood sampling (PUBS) - this form of down syndrome test examines blood from the umbilical cord
These diagnostic down syndrome tests are done to discover changes in chromosomes that would be indicative of down syndrome.
Down Syndrome Symptoms
Common down syndrome symptoms, or physical signs that someone may have down syndrome include, but are not limited to:
- A flattened face, particularly on the bridge of the nose
- Upward slanting, almond shaped eyes
- A short neck
- Small ears
- The tongue tends to stick out of the mouth
- Small white spots on the colored part of the eye
- Undersized hands and feet
- A single line across the palm
- Tiny pinky fingers that in some cases curve toward the thumb
Speech Disorders and Language Disorders
A child's first 3 years of life are the most intense in terms of speech and language development. If a child isn't exposed to language during this time, it can be more challenging to learn these skills. Children who struggle with understanding what other people say, or who struggle with expressing their own thoughts, may have a language disorder.
An example of language disorder symptoms may include a child's inability to talk until they are 3 or 4 years old. Similarly, children who have challenges with pronunciation, or children who hesitate or stutter when speaking, may have a speech disorder.
Speech disorder symptoms may include struggling to make speech sounds properly, or stuttering.
Sensory Disorders or Sensory Impairment
A sensory processing disorder refers to a condition where the brain has challenges receiving and responding to information.
Individuals with a sensory processing disorder may experience the following:
- Coordination challenges
- Bumping into things
- The inability to tell where their limbs are in relation to a space
- Difficulties engaging in discussions or other social interactions
In addition to a sensory processing disorder, other types of developmental disabilities and delays that are present in children we see include, but are not limited to:
- Blindness and low vision
- Hearing loss
- and more