In the last two decades, the global community has made significant progress in saving the lives of children <5 y of age. However, these advances are failing to help all children to thrive, especially children with disabilities. Most early child development research has focussed on the impact of biological and psychosocial factors on the developing brain and the effect of early intervention on child development. Yet studies typically exclude children with disabilities, so relatively little is known about which interventions are effective for this high-risk group. In this article we provide an overview of child development and developmental disabilities. We describe family-centred care interventions that aim to provide optimal stimulation for development in a safe, stable and nurturing environment. We make the case for improving opportunities for children with developmental disabilities to achieve their full potential and thrive, including through inclusive early childhood development intervention. Finally, we call for the global research community to adopt a systematic approach for better evidence for and implementation of early interventions for children with developmental disabilities in low-resource settings.

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