The prevalence of developmental delay among children aged 3–60 months in Izmir, Turkey

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Developmental delay is defined as delays in speech and language development, motor development, social-emotional development and cognitive development. On a global scale, the prevalence estimations in paediatric population range between 5% and 15%. However, no prevalence studies on developmental delay have been conducted in primary care in Turkey. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of developmental delay among children aged 3–60 months in Izmir.


This cross-sectional, descriptive study involved 1514 children aged 3–60 months, who were at 12 primary health centres for various reasons in Izmir between 1 November 2013 and 31 January 2014. The questionnaire and age-specific Turkish version of the Ages and Stages Questionnaires were applied to mothers via face-to-face interview.


The prevalence of developmental delay was 6.4% (95% confidence interval 5.2–7.7). The prevalence for age groups varied between 3.3% and 12.1%. Significant associations were found between developmental delay and maternal age, maternal/paternal education, socio-economic level of the family and the presence of consanguineous marriage.


Identifying developmental delay in children earlier by a validated, reliable, parent-completed questionnaire like Ages and Stages Questionnaires and detecting risk factors for delay are crucial for primary care where their growth and development are monitored. Identifying developmental delay and early referral to rehabilitation services may help improve children's quality of life.

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