Child Development

What is a Developmental Delay?

Child development refers to the process in which children go through changes in skill development during predictable periods of time, called developmental milestones. Developmental delay occurs when children have not reached these milestones by the expected time period. For example, if the normal range for learning to walk is between 9 and 15 months, and a 20-month-old child has still not begun walking, this would be considered a developmental delay.

Developmental delays and disabilities often go undetected until a child enters elementary school. Multiple studies have shown that the earlier a delay is recognized and supports offered the better a child has of making substantial improvement. Screening young children is an effective way to gauge developmental progress during a child’s first years of life and to determine any necessary action at a time when it can have its greatest impact. As a child care provider or preschool teacher, you may be among the first to notice a child’s difficulties or special needs. That’s why child care providers and preschool teachers play such an important role in recognizing that a child may need special help.

CDC’s Developmental Milestone Checklists

Get updated CDC milestones checklists in English and Spanish, videos and parent tips as well as the Milestone Tracker App to help gauge a child’s developmental during their first years of life, click here.

Zero To Three

The national nonprofit provides early child development information and resources for children’s growth and development: