Understanding Developmental Delay
"As a child grows and develops, s/he learns different skills, such as taking a first step, smiling for the first time, or waving goodbye. These skills are known as developmental milestones. A child with a developmental delay does not reach these milestones at the same time as other children the same age.
Developemental delays can effect one or more areas of functioning such as large (gross) motor skills, fine motor skills, expressive and receptive language, cognition, and social skills.1
If you have concerns about your child's development talk to your pediatrician, or contact your local Children's Developmental Services Agency (CDSA). Many children show sudden bursts in development rather than slow, steady growth.2
Developmental screenings are used by medical professionals to see whether children are developing near the same rate as other children the same age. Parents and caregivers are often asked questions about their child and the professional interacts with the child during the appointment. If the screening confirms concerns about the child's development, the family may be referred to a specialist for more screening and for services.3
Fact Sheets and Frequently Asked Questions
- The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities has useful information and links about developmental delays.
- My Child Without Limits has information about causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis for children with developmental delays.
- The Center for Disease Control lists developmental milestones for children ages birth through 5 years and has a fact sheet about developmental screenings (en espanol).
- The North Carolina Infant-Toddler Program can provide screenings for children with suspected developmental delays and services for children with confirmed developmental delays.
- Smart Start is a program that ensures that more children are screened for developmental delays.
Advocacy and Social Connections
- To connect with other parents and families who have a child with a developmental delay contact the Family Support Network™ of North Carolina.
Can't Find What You're Looking For?
Contact a resource specialist at 1.800.852.0042 or at FSP.CDR@unc.edu
- My Child Without Limits (2012). Developmental delay. Available online at https://www.mychildwithoutlimits.org/?page=developmental-delay
- National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (2012). Developmental delay. Available online at https://nichcy.org/disability/specific/dd
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2011). Developmental Screening Fact Sheet. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/pdf/parents_pdfs/DevelopmentalScreening.pdf