Developmental disorder: One of several disorders that interrupt normal development in childhood. They may affect a single area of development (specific developmental disorders) or several (pervasive developmental disorders). With early intervention, most specific developmental disorders can be accommodated and overcome. Early intervention is absolutely essential for pervasive developmental disorders, many of which will respond to an aggressive approach that may combine speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, behavior modification techniques, play therapy, and in some cases medication.
See also autism, developmental dyspraxia, dyslexia.