The isolation generated by the pandemic delays the diagnosis of children under 3 years of age with developmental difficulties

S. F.

MADRID

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Experts are detecting a new consequence of the situation of confinement experienced and the reality of social isolation suffered by many families as a result of the protection measures against the Covid-19 pandemic. Among them, the Alcaraz Institute has encrypted 70% of inquiries from families with minors between zero and three years old who have delayed visiting experts in child psychology confused between their children’s behaviors linked to limited social contact and interaction with the outside world or behaviors linked to some type of difficulty in their development.

The expert in child psychology and co-founder of Instituto Alcaraz, Sheila Alcaraz, explained that “this situation that we have detected could be extrapolated at a general level, especially among first-time fathers and mothers without other references in the development of minors.” And he expressed his concern because «in these last months of 2020 and these first days of 2021 we have attended 70% of consultations of minors from zero to three years old that parents have delayed coming to the psychologist because they did not know if their children’s behavior was by confinement or by a difficulty in development.

According to Alcaraz, a delay in the diagnosis of the minor and in the development of the necessary therapy can be negative for the child, to the extent that “the earlier the intervention begins and a specific program is carried out for the minor, the better will be the forecast. In neurodevelopmental disorders this will be crucial to improve the symptoms.

“When in doubt, it is always advisable to go to the professional, the expert in child psychology who can establish needs or rule out any situation, allowing doubts to be resolved in some cases and, above all, to act when really necessary,” he added.

The statistics of the Alcaraz Institute reflect that the situation of delay in consultations is generated among minors between two and three years of age, whose parents of departure understand that their behavior is attributed to a lack of stimuli. «These minors, in general, show certain difficulties in the social sphere that have been limited, are the result of the abuse of new technologies, the consumption of television and the scarce direct interaction with third parties “, commented the child psychologist, who expressed” that this confusion is normal in view of the exceptional situation that we are all living since March 2020 as a consequence of the pandemic ”.

Signs to react to

The co-founder of Instituto Alcaraz commented on some elements that parents should take into account, especially in those minors with more than two years. In these cases, a certain delay in the initiation of language, social difficulties, in the evolution of personal autonomy at the two-year level, in toilet training or behavior control, are signs that should alert parents.

In these cases, “the resource of a professional is basic and very useful, we must overcome taboos and look for those resources that can help us as a family group, but especially the child in his development and healthiest possible evolution”, he added.

But the reality is that in most cases there have been delays of between three to five months in going to specialized child care cabinets with respect to times prior to the pandemic situation. In many cases, they have even exceeded six or eight months.

Alcaraz explained that in most cases the minor had language difficulties that had to be addressed and, to a large extent, neurodevelopmental disorders have been diagnosed as Autism Spectrum Disorders, although there have been cases of low self-esteem and mood.

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