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Explaining developmental delay for young children

Developmental delay is when a child's development is not at the level expected for their age, and significantly impacts their ability to perform daily routines and activities.

Learn more about developmental delay and the NDIS, including:

  • Early intervention requirements for children under 6 years of age
  • When a NDIS plan is needed
  • Diagnosis and supports
  • Evidence for developmental delay


Some examples of developmental delay may include: 

How a child looks after themself: 

  • showering, bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, grooming, sleeping

How a child understands and uses language:

  • being understood by other people by using gestures, pictures, words and sentences to communicate 
  • understanding what other people say and communicate

How a child thinks, learns and problem solves: 

  • understanding and remembering information 
  • learning new things and using new skills
  • planning, making decisions and completing tasks
  • developing pretend play skills and play interests
  • emotional development and social awareness

How a child uses their body to move: 

  • moving around the home (sitting, crawling, walking) 
  • moving to perform everyday routines 
  • manipulating objects and using hands 
  • moving about in the community

Evidence for developmental delay can come from those who know a child well including family/carers, health professionals, allied health professionals and educators.

For more information, please visit the new page for Developmental delay for children under 6 years.