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Developmental Red Flags for Children Age 3 to 5

The range of normal development and learning is quite wide for every child. However, to be aware of the signs, it is helpful for parents that their child may lack their basic skills. These problems are referred to as developmental delays.

It has been widely demonstrated that a child who has a developmental delay or a specific problem in some area and who is detected early -and consequently receives early care-, will have better results and fewer problems later than a child whom we delay in consulting, diagnosing, and treating.

In most cases, children who get early treatment can catch up and only suffer from minor delays. As soon as you consider your child has an issue, you should seek the help your child needs. If you think your child is not developed mentally, emotionally, and physically, you should seek the doctor. There is no waiting if we suspect that something is wrong! Seek medical attention right away.

Developmental delays

There are many types of developmental delays. Among these, the children may face the following:

  • Speech or language delay
  • Emotional and social skills delay 
  • Motor or movement skills delay
  • Thinking skills delay

Speech and language delay

This type of developmental delay is most common. However, both issues sound the same, but in reality, they are very different. A person’s speech is a set of sounds they make. Stuttering or difficulties in saying words correctly are signs of speech delays in children.

Sound and gestures serve as the basis for language. When a child has a language problem, they may have difficulty in communicating.


  • Problems with their tongue and roof of their mouth
  • Ear infections
  • Hearing loss
  • Inability to learn
  • Autism spectrum and cerebral palsy disorders


Something you can do is let your child’s doctor know as soon as possible if you suspect your child is having trouble speaking.

Emotional and social delays

The children might have difficulty getting along with adults or other children because of these issues. Usually, children’s problems show up before school starts.

ASD, or autism spectrum disorder, is a common cause of social and emotional delays. Children’s expression, interactions, behaviors, and learning can be affected by it.

Motor skill delays

A child may have difficulty using many muscles with special needs, like when using a ball or with small movements like when coloring. In these cases, it’s their coordination rather than their strength that causes problems. When your child is quite young, you may notice that they are rather clumsy.


  • Vision problems 
  • Muscle diseases 
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Dyspraxia 
  • Ataxia 

Here are some things you can do. Your child’s pediatrician may advise you to encourage them to move around at home to solve motor problems.

Thinking-Related Delays

Development red flags of children age 3 to 5 years old

Children may struggle with cognitive skills, called thinking, learning, and remembering, for various reasons. Genetics, physical problems, environmental factors, diseases before birth, and accidents contribute to autism. The problem with cognitive delays is that doctors can rarely identify a specific cause.


Who knows your child? That only person is you. When you feel something isn’t right, don’t hesitate to tell your doctor or consult a child developmental centre and ask for an assessment for your child. It is always best to diagnose a child’s developmental delay early and treat it if it occurs.

FIT IN Child Developmental Centre is one of the many centres that provides assessment test to detect speech delay and kids behaviour problems. Visit their website https://fitin.edu.my/ or contact +60 12-213 6788 for more information.

Shwu Tiinn
Shwu Tiinn
Graduating in Mass Communication. A person who is in the Taekwondo scene since 4 years old and it's been 19 years and counting. Competed in international, national and state level competitions [and won some medals too! 😉 ]. Believes that people can have sports and academics at the same time. Her mantra 'Respect, Discipline and Time Management is important. You'll never know when you will use or need it'


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