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Developmental Delays & Disorders

What Are Developmental Delays or Disorders?

Describing a child’s physical, behavioral, language or learning development, developmental delays or disorders affect approximately 15 percent of children in the United States ages 3 to 17. In some cases, the delays can be overcome, though most are present throughout life.

Because there is such a wide range of possible developmental delays, there is no single cause. The root of many developmental disorders is unknown, therefore making prevention more difficult. Some causes include:

  • Complications of pregnancy and childbirth
  • Family history of developmental delays
  • Genetic causes


Diagnosing developmental delays or disorders relies on parents noticing children missing key milestones and following up with their pediatricians. Missing these milestones may indicate a developmental delay:

  • 1 year — Baby plays peek-a-boo, shakes head or waves goodbye, mimics speech and gestures, bangs objects against one another and gets in a seated position without assistance.
  • 2 years — Toddler becomes more independent and engaged, speaks in short sentences, can identify and sort colors or shapes, and can kick a ball and throw it overhand.
  • 5 years — Child speaks clearly, counts to 10 or higher, tries to be like and please friends, and can complete a somersault.

Treatment Options

No two children with developmental delays are the same and neither is the treatment of such disorders. Depending on the condition, prescribed treatment may include:

  • Therapy Speech, physical, behavioral and occupational therapists can help minimize the effects of any specific disorder.
  • Devices — To help with hearing, vision or balance deficiencies. Glasses, hearing aids or crutches may be prescribed.

Ready for an Appointment?

If you're experiencing signs or symptoms of developmental delays or disorders, schedule an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.

Learn more about our doctors and care team who diagnose and treat developmental delays or disorders.