Maturational delay is a fairly common developmental disorder that often affects children early in life. Basically, it consists of a delay in the normal course of development that affects several areas, from thinking, language and communication to motor skills or even growth. In this way, the child with a maturational delay has a chronologically lower development than that corresponding to his age, which makes him behave like a younger child.

In most cases, the maturational delay begins to be noticed from the first years, although sometimes it usually goes unnoticed until around two or three years, when the parents realize that their child is not capable of doing the same things than his contemporaries.

 Signs That Alert The Presence Of A Maturational Delay In The First Year Of Life

  • He begins to crawl after 12 months or even later, when most children his age are already learning to walk.
  • It takes a year or more for them to start babbling their first words.
  • Does not show interest in showing or teaching toys and things that interest him.
  • He is unable to react when called by name or shown objects that should pique his interest.
  • He does not recognize familiar sounds such as his parent’s voice, the doorbell, or the barking of the house dog.
  • It cannot imitate actions, sounds, or rhythms, even if they are very simple.
  • He is oblivious and uninterested in toys and games.

Signs That Alert The Presence Of A Maturational Delay From The Second Year Of Life

  • When the other children are already walking, he is just beginning to take his first steps.
  • He is unable to integrate with other children his age to play.
  • Does not recognize drawings, objects, or photos of nearby people.
  • He does not show interest in imaginary games since his imagination is at a very incipient level.
  • He is unable to follow the thread of a long conversation or a children’s story because he quickly loses concentration.
  • You cannot follow simple rules or orders that involve more than one execution.
  • He is unable to answer questions that are too elaborate since he usually has a very small vocabulary
  • You don’t often express your emotions or your physical condition in words, so it’s hard to know how you feel.
  • You cannot focus on a specific activity for more than 10 minutes.
  • His games do not have a symbolic character since he is unable to abstract himself from the concrete form or function of an object or toy.

How Do Children With Maturational Delay Develop?

In a general sense, most children with a maturational delay tend to progress and achieve normal development for their age, as long as they receive adequate stimulation. In fact, in almost all cases the maturational delay is temporary, since it only lasts during the first 3 or 4 years of the child.

However, when it is not treated, the maturational delay can be accentuated and remain throughout childhood, and even during adolescence and youth. In these cases, the school also plays a fundamental role since if the child is labeled as a child with a school delay, it is likely that, far from overcoming the alteration, the symptoms will be accentuated.