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Developmental delay

Developmental delay is a term used for pre-school children showing significant delay in two or more developmental areas compared to their peer group. In the majority of cases no underlying medical cause is identified.

Children with developmental delay can often go on to have a learning difficulty or disability at school age.

There are some signs you may have noticed if you suspect your child may have developmental delay. Your child may not have met their developmental milestones; this includes skills such as taking a first step, smiling for the first time, and waving ‘bye bye’.

This may affect their physical abilities, their speech, their hand skills and their social skills.

How we can help

Your healthcare professional (e.g. GP) should refer your child into our service if they feel it is appropriate.

Your child will be seen by a paediatrician and assessed. They may be referred to other professionals such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.

Some children will be referred and offered a place at a local specialist nursery for a more detailed assessment, the team there will work closely with the paediatrician.

Your child may have some blood tests or a brain scan to look for a cause of their difficulties. 

What happens next?

You and your child will be seen in a clinic room that should be relatively near to your home. The doctor will talk through your concerns and worries. They will ask you questions about you and your child’s medical history, questions about your family and about your child’s development and progress. The doctor may then ask some more specific questions relevant to your child’s developmental delay. The doctor may check your child’s height and weight and examine them.