What Happens Over Time to Children with Developmental Delay?

The child’s progress depends in large part on the underlying diagnosis for the delay and the individual child’s constellation of strengths and challenges. Early identification and treatment will optimize a child’s progress.  With a proper treatment plan, most children should progress in their development although the rate of that progress and the extent that the delays resolve is highly variable depending upon the underlying condition.  Some children may “catch up” to peers over time while others may have disabilities that persist into adult life.  Many of these adults may be independent in their function, some individuals may have mild disability requiring limited societal supports, and others may require extensive supports due to the extent of their disability.

A minority of children might be diagnosed with a “progressive” condition (one that causes further injury to the nervous system over time) in which case, the child may plateau or regress in their development due to that condition. Still, with supports, the child’s function can be optimized.

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Connect with other parents of children with Developmental Delay

Visit the My Child Without Limits support community and talk to parents, caregivers, and professionals about their experiences with Developmental Delay.


American Academy of Pediatrics

Developmental Delay Resources (DDR)

First Signs 

National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
Learn the Signs. Act Early (with checklists for Developmental Milestones)


National Center of Medical Home Initiatives for Children with Special Needs

Zero to Three