Although all children occasionally exhibit behavioral problems, those with delays might demonstrate more significant behavioral issues than normal. While some delayed children might lack the social skills to make friends or relate to peers, others might struggle with managing their impulses in a classroom. Frustration or embarrassment over their disabilities might further exacerbate the problem for some delayed children.
Intellectually Delayed Children
There is a wide range of intellectual delays in children that might contribute to behavioral problems. Children with a learning disability might experience academic delays and might become frustrated when they are unable to learn as fast as peers. Over time, their embarrassment and discouragement might cause them to act out in the classroom, according to the National Center for Learning Disabilities. Children with more severe intellectual disabilities might struggle with learning “normal” behaviors and have trouble making friends and developing important social and life skills, KidsHealth reports. When children are frustrated with their continuing academic struggles, they might assume it is hopeless to try to succeed in the classroom. They might challenge teachers to avoid schoolwork, pick arguments with classmates or even skip classes or drop out when they are older.
Speech Delayed Children
Children with language delays might feel frustrated when they are unable to clearly communicate. They might lash out if others are unable to understand them or shut down and refuse to communicate at all. Even though speech delays are a fairly common occurrence in children, according to Medline Plus, it can be difficult for children who experience them to fit in with peers. Their speech delays might contribute to low-self esteem, which is often associated with a host of behavioral problems, according to Healthy Children.
Emotionally Delayed Children
Even though there is a wide range of normal behaviors for children of all ages, those with emotional delays often exhibit noticeable behavioral differences. Children who struggle to meet certain developmental milestones might have behavioral or emotional problems that are not common for children their age, according to the PACER Center, Minnesota’s Parent Training and Information Center. For instance, an eight-year-old boy might bite peers when angry, even though the behavior is more commonly seen among much younger children. An emotionally delayed teen might resort to childish name-calling when she feels left out of a social setting.
Physically Delayed Children
A physical delay might be one of the most easily diagnosed delays, but any resulting behavioral problems might be less noticeable at first. Parents might notice that their children are significantly smaller than others their age or a pediatrician might detect a slower than normal growth habit but not realize the effect it is having on their child's self-esteem. Some children with physical delays might enter puberty later than usual and struggle with teasing from other children their age, KidsHealth reports. This could lead to a variety of behavioral problems if they do not have the emotional confidence, reassurance or skills to handle looking and feeling different than their peers, including social isolation or confrontation.
- National Center for Learning Disabilities: Behavior Problems and Learning Disabilities
- Medline Plus: Expressive Language Disorder – Developmental
- Healthy Children: Signs of Low Self-Esteem
- PACER Center: Emotional or Behavioral Disorders
- KidsHealth: What is a Growth Disorder?
- KidsHealth: What “Mental Retardation” Means
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