What is Developmental Disorders used for?

Developmental disorders in children are to be differentiated from growth disorders in children. The latter mainly relates to physical development, whereas developmental disorders mainly focus on mental, cognitive, motor, sensory, emotional and social aspects.

What are developmental disorders?

According to ELECTRONICSENCYCLOPEDIA, developmental disorders in children are manifested as poorly trained functions in one or more different areas of life. When it comes to mental development disorders in children, the intelligence is often reduced.

Thinking is slowed down and emotional behavior is disturbed. In addition, developmental disorders in children are expressed in poor language comprehension. The ability to speak has also lagged. Affected children also find it difficult to take care of themselves.

If motor development disorders occur in children, clumsy behavior is in the foreground, especially with complex movement sequences. Painting and handicrafts, for example, are just as problematic as ball games or jumping on one leg. The affected children are always noticeably behind their peers in their development.

Around three percent of all children in Germany are affected by developmental disorders in children. Boys are more often affected than girls.


Developmental disorders in children do not always have identifiable causes. Motor development disorders in children are sometimes inherited. The cause can also be harmful influences around the birth, such as a lack of oxygen. Developmental disorders in children can also be caused by brain malformations.

Mental developmental disorders in children are almost always congenital or result from an infection during pregnancy. Also meningitis, a serious accident with head injuries and diseases of the metabolism can be decisive.

It is known that trauma can trigger developmental disorders in children. It is not uncommon for the mother’s poor lifestyle to be responsible for mental and physical deficiencies. Smoking, drugs and alcohol consumption can lead to serious developmental disorders in the child during pregnancy. Sometimes no cause for developmental disorders in children is found either.

Symptoms, ailments & signs

Developmental disorders in children can be very different and also have different characteristics. For this reason, it is usually not possible to make a general prediction of the symptoms. However, these disorders always lead to a significantly delayed development in the affected child and thus to restrictions and complaints in adulthood.

The children suffer from disorders of growth and mental or motor development. This results in a short stature or underdevelopment in various parts of the body, so that the children suffer from restricted mobility. The mental development is also clearly slowed down, so that there is a reduced intelligence and possibly a retardation.

It cannot be predicted whether these disorders can be remedied, as the further course depends heavily on the cause of the developmental disorders in children. In addition, the patients can have various malformations, whereby the internal organs can also be affected.

For this reason, the developmental disorders in children in some cases lead to a reduced life expectancy in the patient. The disorders can also have a negative effect on the psyche, so that some people affected suffer from depression or other psychological disorders. Parents or relatives can also be affected.


Developmental disorders in children are often recognized by psychologists, pediatricians or physiotherapists. The child’s level of development is checked and assessed using a point system.

The diagnosis of developmental disorders in children should never be made alone, but always in a team. Incorrect assessments and the resulting wrong measures should be avoided. Some children are just late bloomers. This must not lead to their prematurely receiving the stamp “developmentally disturbed”.

Some laypeople assume that developmental disorders will develop in children. This is wrong. There is no cure for mental development disorders in children. Only slight motor development disorders in children can be improved by a lot of exercise. In general, developmental disorders in children need to be identified and treated properly as quickly as possible.

When should you go to the doctor?

Developmental disorders in children should be clarified by a doctor as soon as they are noticed in everyday life. If the children develop abnormally compared to their peers, a consultation with the doctor is required. Development delays, on the other hand, are considered normal and do not require medical treatment.

In most cases, the children will make up for the delay over the coming years. In the case of developmental disorders, there are abnormalities in mental or motor skills. The children should be examined by a doctor if their social behavior is above the norm.

Aggressive or unusually passive behavior should be discussed with a doctor. If the limbs cannot be used in the usual way or if the children react in an abnormal way to sensory stimuli, further investigations are necessary. Apathetic behavior, the permanent tilt of the head or the inability to move the eyes synchronously and arbitrarily should be presented to a doctor.

If the child does not learn to understand the language or if it shows a reduced intelligence, it should be examined by a doctor. If movements cannot be coordinated or if it is not possible to move independently, the child needs medical help. If normal leisure activities such as playing or painting with the children can only be implemented to a limited extent, a doctor should be consulted.

Treatment & Therapy

Mild developmental disorders in children turn out to be positive with the right therapy. Minor motor deficits can actually go away permanently with a lot of practice. Mental development disorders in children cannot be treated.

Occupational therapy is often used for treatment. Delayed language development is always an alarm signal for developmental disorders in children. The pediatrician recognizes this during the scheduled examinations. Developmental disorders in children are already visible in this area at the age of two. Speech disorders are treated by speech therapists.

The way to the ENT doctor is essential. It is possible that hearing problems can hinder language development. When treating developmental disorders in children, an increase in self-esteem should always be considered. A child who is supported and empowered also dares to do more. In general, all fellow human beings should take care not to treat the child with mockery or malice. Otherwise fears and disturbances in social behavior will quickly arise.

Judo and swimming can help with motor development disorders to improve the entire sequence of movements. The prognosis for the two best-known forms of developmental disorders in children (autism and Rett syndrome) is not very favorable. Nevertheless, the course can be positively influenced to a certain extent by appropriate treatment.

Outlook & forecast

The developmental disorders in children have an unfavorable prognosis. Many symptoms can be alleviated through modern therapy options and early medical care. However, the sick children rarely make full recovery.

In the case of many developmental disorders, the aim of therapy is to improve the existing living conditions and to extend the predicted life span. However, a comprehensive prognosis can only be made based on the individual disorder.

In the case of mental development disorders, the use of targeted training to build up memory helps. This increases cognitive performance. In the case of motor development disorders, speech therapy methods are used. Individual exercises are developed in cooperation with the patient and their relatives. These can be carried out independently or with therapeutic support.

The more often and more intensively the training units are implemented, the better the prognosis is often. Surgical interventions offer the possibility of corrections in the case of innumerable malformations. The aim is to optimize the existing quality of life, since, despite medical progress, it is often not possible to achieve the natural physical function or appearance.

If psychological problems are known to be the cause of developmental disorders in children, psychotherapeutic measures are used. Traumas or poor living conditions experienced by the expectant mother during pregnancy should be dealt with and overcome in this way.


The best way to prevent developmental disorders in children is to attend the preventive examinations offered by the pediatrician. The doctor recognizes every developmental disorder in children in good time and can initiate the appropriate measures. So that the developmental disorders in children do not turn into permanent disorders. It is also important that the child receives a lot of personal address and attention as a baby. So that it can mature mentally and physically.


In the case of developmental disorders in children, parents and children have various follow-up measures available. However, developmental disorders in children should primarily be investigated and treated. The children are mostly dependent on intensive therapy in order to reduce these disorders or to limit them completely.

They have to be promoted intensively. Small exercises in your own home can also serve to minimize developmental disorders in children. Parents usually find support from the supervising teachers or educators. Furthermore, parents and mostly also relatives of the children with developmental disorders in children need a lot of patience.

Parents need to understand this condition in order to engage with it. The children must not be overwhelmed as this can have a negative effect on the treatment of these disorders. Often the parents can be supported in everyday life by friends or relatives. The loving care of the children can also have a positive effect on the course of these disorders. As a rule, developmental disorders in children do not reduce the life expectancy of children.

You can do that yourself

In the case of a developmental disorder in the child, it is important to have comprehensive information about the causes and background of the diagnosis of the existing disorder. Funding opportunities for the offspring that are tailored to the needs and capabilities of the child should be developed and implemented individually and in close cooperation with the doctor. In many cases, parents and close relatives also need psychological support. This is helpful to process the situation and the circumstances.

The child’s illness has an immense influence on the everyday processes of all those affected. It leads to a change in life that is often associated with various restrictions. In order that the expectations of the child due to the illness are not too high, a good educational work of the people in the social environment is necessary.

With a positive and optimistic attitude towards life, improvements can be achieved for the child and the parents in living together. Acceptance of the situation is necessary in order not to cause additional illnesses or psychological problems.

A comparison with the development opportunities of children of the same age should be avoided completely. The leisure activities and the school possibilities should be adapted to the wishes and needs of the child. It is important to create a sense of achievement for the child in order to promote motivation and increase the joy of learning.

developmental disorders