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The Developmental Delay clinic provides evaluations and recommendations for families of children with developmental differences. We see children under 6 years old who have a suspected delay in more than one area, such as speech and language, motor skills (small and large muscle group skills), or play and learning.

Our clinic is staffed by developmental-behavioral and neurodevelopmental pediatricians and nurse practitioners who specialize in caring for children with all types of developmental delay. We work closely with community providers to connect you with the right resources for your child, whether that is at Children’s Mercy or other organizations.

Conditions we treat

  • Developmental delay (not meeting expected milestones) in multiple areas.

Services we offer

  • Developmental evaluations for children from birth to 6 years with suspected delays in multiple areas.
  • Recommendations for other medical evaluations to rule out underlying medical conditions.
  • Recommendations for other services and therapies for your child, such as speech/language therapy, occupational therapy, and/or physical therapy.

I have concerns about my child's development. What should I do?

If you notice that your child reaches common milestones on a different timeline than most other children their age, see your child’s primary care provider or call us for an appointment.

You can also seek support from various state-based early intervention services (for children under 3 years old) or your local school district (for children 3 years or older). Every state provides free evaluations and services for children who need support.

School- and state-based evaluation and support services for children

For children under 3 years old

Request a free developmental evaluation and early intervention services from your state agency for children from birth to age 3. You can do this at the same time that you are scheduling or waiting for your appointment at Children's Mercy.

For children ages 3 to 6 years

Contact your local school district’s special education department for an evaluation, even if your child does not attend school yet, attends private school, or is homeschooled.

You can do this at the same time you’re scheduling or waiting for your Children’s Mercy appointment. We will coordinate with all your child’s care providers to provide your family with as much support as possible.

For all children

Ask your child’s medical doctor if referrals to any other specialists would be appropriate to address your areas of concern.

Common referrals include:

You may also want to pursue programs like Parents as Teachers or Head Start services.

What to expect at the Developmental Delay Clinic

At our clinic, we use your observations along with structured, play-based testing to diagnose any developmental delays. Then, we’ll help you get connected with therapy or other treatments to help your child toward their developmental goals.

Before your appointment

When we call to schedule your appointment, we will send you forms to fill out and return. Some of these will be completed electronically before the visit, and others can be returned when you are seen in clinic.

Your first visit

Most families will have their first appointment with us by telehealth, which will last one to two hours. We look forward to meeting your child at this visit. Your child will be expected to be present for the appointment and participate as they are able.

The developmental-behavioral/neurodevelopmental pediatrician will talk with you and ask questions about your child’s medical and developmental history, your specific concerns and observations, current therapies or services, and anything else that might be relevant to your child’s situation. It’s helpful if both parents or primary caregivers can be present or provide their input to the person attending the appointment.

Your second visit

Next, we’ll schedule an in-person visit to interact with your child and perform any necessary developmental tests. These tests usually feel like play to your child. They include activities like doing puzzles, building with blocks, and interacting with the doctor.

At the end of the in-person visit, we will give you any possible diagnoses and/or suggestions for next steps, as applicable. For most families, next steps usually involve pursuing early intervention services, working with your school district, or beginning additional therapies, depending on your child’s specific needs.

Follow-up care

While some families may need to return to Children’s Mercy for follow-up visits, we don’t always need to see you again if you get successfully connected with the right services and your child is doing well. You are always welcome to contact us if you have concerns as your child grows.