How are developmental delays in children diagnosed?

Written by: Dr Olga Kapellou
Edited by: Conor Lynch

Developmental and growth delays or issues in infants and toddlers can cause quite the concern for parents, and can greatly affect a child’s behaviour as well as how they deal with their emotions as they progress into adulthood.


Here to explain how infant and toddler developmental problems can be diagnosed is esteemed consultant paediatrician and neonatologist, Dr Olga Kapellou. In our latest article, the revered paediatric specialist also tells us how a child can reach their full potential despite suffering from a developmental disorder. 

How are developmental issues in infants and toddlers typically diagnosed?

Infancy and early years of life are periods of quite rapid growth and development. Noticing that a child might not be developing at what is deemed a normal rate of development and growth is crucial when it comes to diagnosing developmental issues in children.


Thorough examinations will need to be carried out in order to fully understand why the child is not developing as he or she typically should. A detailed assessment of growth parameters is a crucial part of the examination of a paediatric patient. Deviations from growth trajectories combined with a full history and examination, provide the clues that are required for diagnosis.


How are growth measurements of infants and toddlers carried out?

Regulation of growth is, of course, quite complex and multifactorial. Growth measurements of an individual child are plotted on growth percentile charts to identify patterns over time. Interpreting these various different growth measurements is hugely important and should take the child’s complete medical history and clinical examination into consideration.


As a typical rate of infant and toddler growth and development is a reflection of overall health and nutritional status, recognising an inconsistency or an irregularity in the child’s behaviour is crucial.


Noticing the child’s interaction with his or her immediate surroundings should also be examined closely and, in order for an effective growth measurement of the child to be carried out efficiently, all of the abovementioned factors should be combined with a full history of parental health, pregnancy and delivery history, which all provide extremely valuable insights.


Who falls into the high-risk category?

High-risk children include pre-term babies, low-birth weight babies and babies who required intensive care due to serious health complications.


How can a child’s full potential be reached?

A continuous and rigorous monitoring of the infant or toddler’s growth and development as well as working with the multidisciplinary team members in order to effectively manage any challenges encountered, ensures children reach their full potential.


Dr Olga Kapellou is a highly revered and experienced London-based consultant paediatrician and neonatologist who specialises in infant and toddler neurodevelopmental examinations. If you are worried about the overall growth and development of your child, you may wish to consult directly with Dr Kapellou by visiting her Top Doctors profile today.

By Dr Olga Kapellou

Dr Olga Kapellou is a renowned Consultant Paediatrician and Neonatologist operating in the London area. Her areas of expertise include general paediatrics, newborn physical examinations, child constipation and diarrhoea, rashes in babies and coughing and breathing problems. She is also an expert in preterm and term neonatal brain injury as well as follow-up after complicated pregnancies.

Dr Kapellou graduated from the National Capodistrian University of Athens in 1995. She then was awarded an MD by Imperial College London and went on to specialise in some of the UK’s most prestigious teaching hospitals, including Great Ormond Street, St Mary’s and Hammersmith.

She has an active research interest in preterm and term brain injury, therapeutic hypothermia for perinatal asphyxia and neurodevelopmental outcomes. Her publications on the effects of prematurity on brain growth and development have been cited extensively.

As well as being a skilled consultant, Dr Kapellou is a Neonatal Life Support instructor and Unicef trained breastfeeding specialist and uses the Griffiths Neurodevelopmental Scales to track infant development in outpatient clinics. She is a highly-trained and knowledgeable professional, who offers the best possible care using the most up-to-date techniques.

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