What is a Developmental Delay?

All children develop at different rates. Some children have delays in development and require early intervention. In most children, delays in mental and physical development will improve. Some have significant delays—developmental delays —that may indicate possible future learning disabilities.

How are Developmental Delays Different from Other Learning Disabilities?

Delays in development differ from other types of learning disabilities in that they may improve with intervention and may eventually disappear. For that reason, it is important to be aware of early signs of a problem.

Some delays and disabilities are linked to exposure to risk factors during the prenatal period. Fortunately, some of these disabilities are preventable through appropriate prenatal health care and healthy prenatal lifestyle choices. Delays can also be normal for your child, and she may catch up with her peers without the need for further intervention.

What are the Types of Developmental Delays?

Students with developmental delays are eligible for special education services such as full evaluation, development of an IEP, specially designed instruction and related services.

Public schools offer screening and comprehensive assessment services to determine if your child has a developmental delay, how significant it is, and if special education is needed. Future testing as your child grows can detect learning disabilities.