Learning Center

Developmental Disabilities

Developmental disabilities are conditions that lead to physical or mental impairments in language, learning, and behavior. These typically originate at birth or during childhood and tend to last throughout a person’s lifetime.

Developmental Milestones

Children develop at different rates; while there are no absolutes about a particular age when a single child will acquire a particular skill, there are certain functional skills or tasks that most children should be able to do across a certain age range. These developmental milestones can provide useful information about a child’s development and can serve as a guide for doctors and parents to identify areas where a child is on track or might need some close monitoring.

Causes and Risk Factors

Most developmental delays begin before birth and are not always caused by external factors, although some may result from injuries or infections. In general, many conditions are said to result from a combination of factors such as:

  • Genetics
  • Behaviors such as smoking and drinking during pregnancy
  • Premature birth
  • Infections during pregnancy
  • Complications during birth
  • Exposure to large amounts of environmental toxins