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    Most developmental delays can be detected during your baby’s 18th month check-up. If your pediatrician suspects a delay, you are usually referred to a developmental pediatrician.

    So, what are the telltale signs that could spell a developmental delay at 18 months old?  The lack of certain skills in social interaction, language development and motor movement can signal the need for a meeting with this specialist. According to Dr. Mark Reysio-Cruz, these are the red flags that you can look out for:

    Area of Development

    The child:

    Social and Emotional

    • has no or limited eye contact
    • does not orient to one’s name when called
    • has limited joint attention, pretend play, imitation,
    • does not point to things and/or people in recognition or to indicate what he or she wants

    Speech and Language

    • can say less than three words with meaning


    • is not walking independently
    • has a presence of handedness (a preference for one hand to reach for things and such)


    Dr. Mark explains that Developmental-Behavioral/Neurodevelopmental Pediatrics is a referrals based subspecialty. Those that are at risk or have red flags are referred by their general pediatrician for a more in-depth developmental evaluation which may lead to a more definitive diagnosis, plan of remediation or further observation. At times, the referrals come from teachers, guidance counselors, therapists, other parents and family members, and friends who bring up concerns about a child’s behavior or development.


    In choosing your developmental pediatrician, parents should look at qualifications. Developmental pediatricians have two to three years of fellowship training from recognized and certified programs locally or abroad. Dr. Mark did his fellowship training in Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics in Washington and Seattle, after completing three years of pediatric residency in the Capitol Medical Center. He advises that parents look for a doctor who is compassionate, a good listener, empathetic, kind, and even affordable!


    What To Expect At A Consultation With A Developmental Pediatrician
    A new consult takes about an hour to an hour and a half, and is usually by appointment. The cost of this initial evaluation would be from P2,000 to P5,000. This price can include handouts and a written report.  After the first session, it is ideal to bring back your child every six months to assess the child’s progress and development, and response to interventions.

    Although receiving news that your child has special needs can be devastating, parents should learn that early intervention (EI) is key to their child’s progress and development.  While working on their feelings of acceptance, enrolment in an EI program can do help close the gap for kids with developmental delays.


    Mark Reysio-Cruz, M.D., DPPS*, FPSDBP**
    Capitol Medical Center III (Room 207)
    3712106 local 3234


    Dr. Mark also works with the AD/HD Society of the Philippines, Autism Society of the Philippines, Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health, UP Open University and Special Olympics Philippines. He has been married for 16 years and has been blessed with three boys ages 13, 10 and two and a half.

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    *DPPS = Diplomate, Philippine Pediatric Society
    **FPSDBP = Fellow, Philippine Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. He did his fellowship training in the University of Washington Medical Center and Children's Hospital Regional Medical Center in Seattle, WQ (2001-2004)


    About The Author:

    Frances Mijares-Magtoto has a Master’s Degree in Education from Ateneo de Manila University and is a candidate for a Ph.D. at U.P. Diliman. On days when she is not with her husband and toddler, she can be found at the Graduate School of St. Joseph’s College teaching Special Education majors, or at UP finishing her dissertation.


    Photography by David Hanson Ong

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