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Developmental Disabilities Quick Guide

The Developmental Disabilities Quick Guide is for parents/caregivers who suspect that their child has a developmental disability and may need tools to identifying if a child is showing signs of delays in any of the developmental areas (Physical, Mental, Social and Emotional). Parents/Caregivers may be unsure of how to proceed and may need additional support to help them address the needs of their child. They may also struggle to come to terms with a diagnosis and may need emotional support to handle the range of emotions that come with a diagnosis.

The goal of the Developmental Disabilities Quick Guide is to help parents identify possible concerns within their child, gain more information on a diagnosis, and be connected with the resources to help them assist their child.


  • Depending on the age of the child, different organizations will assist with the supportive services necessary to help the child excel. When children are ages 0-3, the supportive services will general be offered through what is called a lead agency. (For a directory of lead agencies throughout Washington State, see the Early Education Supportive Services Contacts Directory. When the child is 3 years or older, supportive services will be offered through their School District.
  • The most common type of disability are learning disabilities, and can affect upwards to 1 in 5 students.  Although learning disabilities will present a lifelong struggle, there are supports out there to help students. (For more information on learning disabilities, see the Most Common Types of Learning Disabilities document)

Not all developmental delays will lead to a disability. For many kids who experience a delay, they will naturally catch up without any need for supportive services. For others, a delay will lead to a diagnosed disability. The earlier a disability is diagnosed the sooner supportive services can be introduced and the better the outcomes will be. Parents are frequently the first ones to notice something is wrong and developmental screenings can help parents determine if their child needs additional help.

Developmental Disabilities Screenings:
 Learning Disabilities Check List
adhd symptom checklist
 M-CHAT Screening Tool for Autism Spectrum Disorder (also available in Spanish ) and M-CHAT scoring

For community resources that assist families with Developmental Disabilities, see the Developmental Disabilities Resource Tool

Additional resources on Autism:
Autism Fact Sheet- English and Spanish,
100 Day Kit English,
Manual de los 100 dias

Additional resources on ADHD:
ADHD fact sheet English
ADHD Fact Sheet Spanish

Additional Developmental Disabilities Resources:
Cerebral palsy fact sheet English and Spanish
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder English and Spanish
Hearing loss fact sheet English and Spanish
Intellectual Disability English and Spanish
Muscular Dystrophy English and Spanish
Vision loss fact sheet