Abnormal mental development can take many different forms, and the specific symptoms and characteristics can vary depending on the underlying condition, as well as the person's age and individual circumstances.
It is crucial for parents to comprehend and acknowledge that developmental milestones, such as cognitive, emotional/social, speech/language, and motor skills, are distinct from growth milestones that relate to physical parameters. Most children fall within a range of developmental milestones, and infrequent minor delays should not trigger alarm. However, if there are frequent, multiple, and significant delays in developmental milestones, it is essential to pay attention to them. Identifying developmental delays in their child can be distressing and demanding for parents.
Here are some early signs that may indicate abnormal mental development in a child. These signs can help parents identify any neurodevelopmental delays so that they can seek early interventions and support for their child:
- Sudden and ongoing changes in the child's behaviour.
- The child does not respond when called; they do not make eye contact.
- The child may not show facial expressions or express shyness in a negative way.
- The child may avoid social interactions, not show interest in interacting with others, not smile, or not respond to attempts to communicate.
In infants and toddlers, these warning signs are to be looked out for:
- Delayed or no development of motor skills, like speaking, walking or crawling.
- Disinterest in playing around
- Difficulty in seeing objects in the naked eyes
- Crying excessively; difficulty in calming down.
- Difficulty in responding to voices or sounds
- Repetitive behaviours, such as rocking or spinning.
Some of these behaviours may be typical for certain ages and stages of development, but if they continue and start to affect everyday life, it may be a cause for worry. If you are concerned about a child's mental development, it's important to talk to a qualified healthcare professional for advice.
Following are some of the symptoms that indicate serious abnormal mental development in adolescents:
- Feeling sad or low without any apparent reason
- Experiencing confused thinking or difficulty concentrating
- Frequently experience feelings of worry or guilt,
- Extreme mood swings and disinterest in activities that one loved to do previously
- Unusual tiredness
- Unable to cope with the stress
- Suicidal thinking
- Sleep disturbances or changes in appetite.
- Delayed learning
- Disinterest in social interactions
- Obsessive interests
- Difficulty in academic skills
- Poor memory or attention span
- Impulsivity or Hyperactivity
It is crucial to recognize that the aforementioned signs may not necessarily signify a developmental disorder or delay, as each child develops uniquely and at their own pace. Nevertheless, persistent indications that are having an impact on the child's daily life, or any concerns regarding their development, necessitate consultation with a healthcare professional or mental health provider for further evaluation and support.