Your Child’s Development

Read what to expect as your child grows.

Every child develops differently. How do you know if your child is on track? What should you do if you have concerns about how your child is developing? Find answers to these questions and more below.
Two children sisters play together. Kid measures the growth on the background of blackboard. Concept of education.

Developmental Milestones and Screenings

How do you know if your child is developing as expected?  Developmental milestones tell us ways that children should speak, act and learn by certain ages.  When children are on track it is time to celebrate.  When you are concerned your child is not reaching developmental  milestones, it is time to get more information.  Developmental screenings are one way to get more information.  A doctor, nurse, educator, trained community professional or parent can complete a developmental screening on a child. All children should be screened at 9, 18, 24, 30 months and every year after that.  Developmental screenings can catch developmental delays and disabilities early so children get the support they need.  Learn more about developmental milestones and screenings from Delaware Thrives for children 2 months to 8 years old.

In Delaware, ALL families have access to FREE developmental screening using the Ages & Stages Questionnaires® (ASQ-3® & ASQ:SE:2®). Beginning July 2023 all licensed childcares will be required to provide developmental screening to all children ages birth to five, not yet in kindergarten.

The Delaware Department of Education has a page in the Office of Early Learning website with information and additional links.

The Developmental Screening page on the Delaware Readiness Team’s website also provides resources.

Lead Screening

Lead screening is required for all children at 12 months of age, and again at 24 months of age, regardless of risk factors. Screening is defined as a capillary fingerstick in a doctor’s office, or a venous blood test at a laboratory; screening is not a questionnaire. All child care providers and public schools require proof of screening at 12 and 24 months of age for enrollment. For more information on the importance of lead screening please view Highmark – Importance of Lead Screening. Find more information at Lead-Free Delaware.

Support for developmental delays and disabilities

Children with developmental delays and disabilities may be eligible for early intervention programs.

Children from birth to 3 years old

Birth to Three Regional Programs (formerly known as Child Development Watch) can create a personalized plan to help your child develop like other children.  It offers services such as:

  • nutrition plans
  • physical therapy
  • psychological services
  • speech-language therapy

An appointment for an evaluation to determine if your child is eligible for services like these can be made by contacting the following locations in your county.

New Castle County:
University Office Plaza – Chopin Building
258 Chapman Road
Newark, DE 19702
(302) 283-7240 or (800) 671-0050

Kent/Sussex County:
18 N. Walnut Street
Milford, DE 19963
(302) 424-7300 or (800) 752-9393

Children 3 to 5 years old

If you think your child  has developmental delays or a disability, please contact the Child Find department within your school district.  You can find the full list of phone number on the Delaware Department of Education website.

If you are unsure which school district you live in, you can search with your address.

High Quality Care and Education for Children with Disabilities

Your child has the right to receive high quality learning opportunities and participate in programs that meet their developmental needs.  Sometimes, it may be difficult to find a program with the right level of expertise to support your child.

A helpful tool for parents is the Delaware Early Education Inclusion Guide.  It was created to help early childhood professional in Delaware meet the needs of young children with disabilities.  The information in the guide is also helpful for parents.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education ACT (IDEA) is a federal law that ensures eligible children receive early intervention, special education, and related services.  You can receive these services either through Delaware Child Development Watch (Part C) or Delaware Public School Districts (Part B).

My Child DE is a user-friendly website that brings together resources to help families, providers and other caretakers make informed choices for the children of Delaware. The goal of My Child DE is to help these groups feel welcome, informed and empowered to engage, learn and take the next steps needed to support children.