Developmental Therapy

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A developmental therapist serves infants and toddlers from birth to age three with developmental delays or disabilities.  The therapist assess the child’s development and designs learning environments that promote the child’s development in a variety of areas.  They also provide the family with information and support to help their child grow.  The developmental therapist is part of the Early Intervention team that often includes not only the developmental therapist, but also occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists, and social workers. 

Education and Certification Requirements

Credentialing for developmental therapists varies by state.  In Illinois a developmental therapist must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from an Early Intervention approved college/university program in the areas of:

  • Early Childhood 
  • Early Childhood Special Education 
  • Special Education
  • Special Education: Deaf/Hard of Hearing or Blind/Partially Sighted 
  • Child Development
  • Early Intervention  
  • Elementary Education

Applicants also must have coursework in the following areas:

  • The Development of Young Children (1 semester hour Typical Development and 1 semester hour Atypical Development)
  • Working with Families of Young Children with Disabilities
  • Intervention Strategies for Young Children with Special Needs  
  • Assessment of Young Children with Special Needs


Currently the Bureau of Labor and Statistics does not list developmental therapy as a specific job category so salary data is somewhat unknown.  ZipRecuiter reports that the national average salary for a developmental therapist is $53,378. lists the average salary as $44,058.

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