Global perspective on early diagnosis and intervention for children with developmental delays and disabilities


Dr Alfred L Scherzer at Stony Brook Children’s Services, 15 West 2nd Street, Riverhead, New York, NY 11901, USA. E-mail:


Low- and middle-income countries are experiencing a significant reduction in mortality of children under 5 years of age. This reduction is bringing in its wake large numbers of surviving children with developmental delays and disabilities. Very little attention has been paid to these children, most of whom receive minimal or no support. Thus, there is an urgent need to recognize that improving the quality of life of the survivors must complement mortality reduction in healthcare practice and programs. The incorporation of early evaluation and intervention programs into routine pediatric care is likely to have the most impact on the quality of life of these children. We therefore call for leadership from practitioners, governments, and international organizations to prioritize regular childhood developmental surveillance for possible delays and disabilities, and to pursue early referral for intervention.