Childhood Maturational Delay: What it is, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Childhood Maturational Delay: What it is, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Childhood Maturational Delay: What it is, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Delayed child maturation impacts their ability to reach important milestones in areas such as language, motor skills, learning, and social skills. Although each child develops differently and at their own pace, when significant delays are observed in multiple areas of development, it is important to investigate and address possible underlying causes. In this article, we will explain what maturational delay is, the possible causes that trigger it, the symptoms that can manifest and some activities that help promote development.

What is the developmental delay?

Maturational delay is defined as a gap in the development of a boy or girl compared to the average for his or her age. This gap can affect one or more areas of development. It is important to note that not all children develop at the same rate, so there is no need to be alarmed if a child has a slight delay in some area. However, if a delay is observed that is significant or affects several areas, it is best to consult with a specialist to rule out possible health problems or developmental disorders.

Types of childhood maturational delay

Childhood grief developmental delay can be classified into different types depending on the area of development affected:

Global maturational delay

It is characterized by a lag in the development of all areas of development, including motor skills, language, cognition and socialization. This type of delay is usually caused by serious genetic or environmental factors.

Specific maturational delay

As its name indicates, there is a lag in the development of one or two areas, while the other areas develop normally. The most common types of specific developmental delay are:

  • Language delay, where there are difficulties understanding and/or expressing oneself verbally.
  • Motor delay, this occurs when there are problems doing things like crawling, walking or running.
  • Cognitive delay, that is, difficulties in learning, thinking and solving problems.
  • Social delay, this occurs when there are difficulties interacting with other children and adults, and developing social skills.

Mild maturation delay

It is characterized by a slight lag in the development of one or two areas of development. This type of delay is usually temporary and the child usually achieves normal development with adequate stimulation.


It is important to keep in mind that this classification is only an approximation and that each child is unique and develops at his or her own pace. If you are concerned about your child's development, do not hesitate to consult with your pediatrician.

Causes of childhood developmental delay

The causes of childhood maturation delay are diverse and on more than one occasion, there are several that generate it. Some examples are:

  • Genetic factors: Genetic disorders are a common cause of developmental delay. Some of the most common genetic syndromes that are associated with developmental delay are:
    • Down syndrome: This syndrome is caused by trisomy of chromosome 21. Children with Down syndrome usually present an overall developmental delay, as well as distinctive physical characteristics.
    • Prader-Willi syndrome: This syndrome is caused by a deletion in chromosome 15. Children with Prader-Willi syndrome usually present with global developmental delay, as well as hypotonia (low muscle tone) and feeding problems.
  • Infections: Maternal infections during pregnancy have the potential to cause damage to the fetus and cause delayed maturation. Commonly seen infections are:
    • Rubella: Rubella is a viral disease that can cause deafness, blindness and delayed maturation in the fetus.
    • Toxoplasmosis: Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic disease that can cause damage to the fetus, including delayed maturation and vision problems.
    • Cytomegalovirus: Cytomegalovirus is a herpes virus that can cause hearing problems and developmental delay.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can cause fetal alcohol syndrome, which is characterized by global maturational delay as well as distinctive physical characteristics.
  • Tobacco: Consuming tobacco while pregnant increases the risk of premature birth and low birth weight, which can lead to delayed maturation.
  • Drugs: Drugs, just as they cause damage to the breast, cause damage to the fetus and could be linked to a delay in maturation in childhood.

Symptoms of maturation delay

The symptoms of developmental delay vary depending on the cause, the severity of the delay, and the age of the child. However, there are some general signs that indicate that a child may have a developmental delay:

  • Delay in the development of gross motor skills such as crawling, walking, running or jumping.
  • Delay in the development of fine motor skills such as picking up objects, drawing or writing.
  • Difficulties controlling body movements.
  • Lack of coordination.
  • Delay in the development of comprehensive language, that is, difficulty understanding words, phrases and instructions.
  • Delay in the development of expressive language or difficulty pronouncing words, forming sentences and expressing ideas.
  • Difficulties using language to communicate.
  • Difficulties learning new information and skills.
  • Difficulties thinking, solving problems, making decisions and understanding abstract concepts.
  • Difficulty remembering or following instructions.
  • Lack of attention.
  • Difficulties interacting with other children, either initiating and/or maintaining friendships with other children.
  • Difficulties developing social skills, for example, sharing, cooperating and resolving conflicts.
  • Social isolation.
  • Immature behavior at a general level and on a continuous basis.

Difference between developmental delay and autism

Maturational delay and autism are two conditions that affect child development, but they have important differences. We explain them better like this:

Maturational Delay

Maturational delay refers to a child's development that differs from other children of the same age. In children with developmental delay, deficiencies are observed in skills related to language, motor skills, socio-affectiveness and cognitive abilities. The prognosis is generally favorable, and many children improve their skills with appropriate rehabilitation treatment, with early diagnosis being essential to act in time.


On the other hand, autism is a neurodevelopmental oppositional defiant disorder in children (ODD)  that affects communication, social interaction, and behavior. People with autism may show difficulties understanding and expressing themselves verbally, as well as repetitive patterns of behavior and limited interests. It is important to note that autism is a spectrum, meaning it can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Within this spectrum, we include, for example, Asperger Syndrome, characterized by social difficulties and repetitive behavior patterns, but without significant cognitive delay. 

In summary, while maturational delay implies a delay in development with respect to the expected age, autism refers to a neurodevelopmental disorder with specific characteristics of communication, social interaction and behavior.

Activities for children with developmental delays


The development of a child with developmental delay requires a carefully designed approach that stimulates all areas of growth. To achieve this, it is essential to implement activities that not only address specific deficiencies, but also promote their cognitive, emotional intelligence in children, social and physical development. Here we present a variety of activities designed to improve the skills of children with developmental delay, adapted to different stages of their development:

Sensory stimulation

  • Tactile sensation: Provide different textures for them to explore through touch, like shiny  kids wall clocks  like those from Kiddus, materials such as sand, cotton, crumpled paper, etc.

  • Visual stimulation: Use bright, contrasting toys, books with large, colorful pictures, and activities that involve following moving objects.
  • Auditory stimulation : Songs with simple sounds and rhythms, with specific patterns, toys that make soft and recognizable sounds, such as bells or rattles.

Imitation and symbolic games

  • Playing house: Encourage creativity and social interaction through role-playing games such as cooking, caring for dolls, or playing at being a teacher.
  • Movement Imitation: Simple exercises to imitate actions such as jumping, clapping, moving your arms, etc.
  • Construction games: Use building blocks to encourage hand-eye coordination and problem solving.

Motor activities

  • Coordination exercises: Games that involve throwing and catching balls, walking on lines marked on the ground, or balance activities such as standing on one foot.
  • Movement games: Simple dances with repetitive movements, gentle stretching exercises and yoga activities adapted to your level.

Cognitive stimulation

  • Sorting games: Classify objects by shape, color or size.
  • Puzzles and jigsaw puzzles: Use puzzles with large, simple pieces that help develop hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills.
  • Memory games: Use cards with simple images to play memory and association games.

Social and emotional activities

  • Group games: Organize activities in which children can interact with each other, such as round games, cooperative activities or team games.
  • Emotional expression: Encourage the expression of emotions through art, music, or dramatic play.
  • Relaxation activities: Teach simple relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, gentle massages, or visualization exercises.


In conclusion, childhood developmental delay is a complex condition that presents considerable challenges for children and their families. However, by paying attention as parenting style, with early diagnosis, appropriate intervention and a comprehensive approach that addresses the specific needs of each child, it is possible to improve their quality of life and promote optimal development. Beyond this, it is essential to remember that each child is unique and, therefore, will respond differently to the different therapies they receive. Therefore, it is crucial to work closely with health professionals and specialized educators to design a personalized treatment plan that maximizes the potential of the child with developmental delay. The key in all this is patience, perseverance and attention.

Author: Kiddus Team

At Kiddus we take pride in creating high-quality accessories for kids that are both functional and fashionable. Our team is composed of professionals in the children's industry, including designers, engineers, and child development experts. We work together to create innovative and safe products that meet the needs of both children and parents. With years of experience and a passion for quality, we strive to exceed expectations and bring joy to families around the world.

Take a look at our best selling Kiddus products

Time Teacher

Polarized Baby Sunglasses

Kids Polarized Sunglasses

Kids Wall Clock