Developmental Delay

Children do not develop at the same rate and there is a wide range of what is considered normal development. Some children, however, experience developmental delays, where they develop skills more slowly than other children in the same age group. 

Remarkable Care for Kids

  • Your partner in care: Pediatricians at Rush will work with you to address your concerns about your child’s development, including developmental delays. They will discuss your concerns with you, examine your child, and perform developmental screenings to determine how your child learns, moves, behaves and communicates.
  • Specialized care for complex conditions: Developmental-behavioral pediatricians at Rush can work with you and your child to address complex developmental and behavioral conditions that are often associated with developmental delays, such as autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Early intervention: Pediatricians at Rush can refer your child to early intervention treatment services, which can help significantly improve your child’s development in the first three years of their lives. If your child is older than three years old, specialists at Rush can help you work with your school district for testing and services available in your area, along with private speech, occupational and physical therapy.
  • Multidisciplinary care: Pediatric specialists at Rush work with you, your child and each other to develop a comprehensive care plan to address your child’s developmental delays. The team may include pediatricians, developmental-behavioral pediatricians, pediatric neurologists, pediatric psychologists, speech therapists, physical therapists and occupational therapists.

What is developmental delay?

Some of the first signs of developmental delay may include one or more of the following:

  • Motor development delays, such as not sitting, crawling or walking
  • Language and speech delays, such as not saying words or learning to form sentences
  • Vision impairment, such as lack of eye contact and facial recognition
  • Cognitive delays that indicate problems with thinking, such as not responding to their name or not playing with toys 
  • Social and emotional delays and behavior issues, such as problems with separation and self-soothing

The earlier you address your child’s developmental delays, the better. Most developmental delays are not serious and can be addressed —  and overcome — with early intervention and other therapies.

Care for developmental delay at Rush

Partner with your pediatrician

If you are concerned about your child’s development, discuss your concerns with your pediatrician. At your appointment, your child’s pediatrician will do the following:

  • Discuss your concerns.
  • Examine your child, and talk and play with your child to see how they learn, move, behave and communicate.
  • Perform a developmental screening to see if your child is learning basic skills at the time they should or if there are delays

Your child’s clinician may also order diagnostic tests or refer you to pediatric specialists for additional evaluation, if needed.

Evaluation

Developmental pediatricians and other pediatric specialists  at Rush will evaluate your child. They will look at physical, cognitive, sensory and behavioral issues. They will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan that addresses your child’s specific needs.

Early intervention

Depending on your child’s specific needs, your pediatrician may refer you to early intervention treatment services, including speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy and behavioral therapy.

Specialized care

A number of pediatric specialists at Rush may be involved with your child’s care. Your child’s care team may include one or more of the following:

  • Developmental-behavioral pediatricians address every aspect of your child’s developmental and behavioral problems, treating complex conditions including developmental delays, autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Pediatric neurologists treat problems often linked to brain issues in children, including autism, ADHD, brain tumors and meningitis.
  • Pediatric psychiatrists treat children with mental health and behavioral issues, such as depression, anxiety and ADHD.
  • Pediatric psychologists provide diagnostic testing, therapy and counseling for children and their parents.
  • Occupational therapists help children learn fine motor and social skills and participate fully in school.
  • Physical therapists help children develop motor skills, such as crawling, walking and climbing.
  • Speech and language therapists focus on helping each child communicate effectively and develop speech.
  • Hearing and audiology specialists evaluate and optimize your child’s hearing.