Screening tools utilize the
observations of parents and physicians. While there are different kinds of tools
that may be used to perform a developmental screening, the best tools are accurate,
quick, flexible, and affordable.
There are a variety of ways that physicians can incorporate a developmental screening
into each well-baby visit. A developmental screening takes just a few minutes
to complete with a simple screening form that can be filled out by parents in
the doctor’s waiting room, at home before a well visit, and with the assistance
of a nurse, physician, or other professional in the examination room.
There are a number of developmental screening tools, but they share a common
purpose: to make sure that a child is on the right developmental path. A complete
list of tools, including those recommended by
First Signs, Inc. can be found
in the Screening Tools section.
A good developmental tool must be:
- accurate, both in terms of sensitivity and specificity;
- quick and easy to use;
- flexible for use at each well-baby visit;
- affordable, both at the initial and re-ordering stages.
Generally, a parent completes a simple checklist, and a physician (or other qualified
health care professional) follows up with additional questions and evaluates
the results. A developmental screening is not intended to diagnose a child, but
rather, to use parent observations and developmental milestones as a means to
identify concrete concerns about a child’s development.
if you have concerns about your child and your physician has not
conducted a routine developmental screening, please visit our
developmental milestone checklist,
take the time to see if your child
has met his/her
key milestones and discuss these milestones with your child's physician
at the next well visit. Although
the checklist is not a screening tool, its results might help open a dialogue
about your concerns with your physician and prompt the next step in the screening
process. If a child isn’t screened, parents and pediatricians won’t be able to
track a child’s development.
Physicians, please refer to the
No one wants to label a child, or to diagnose a child with a disability. Screening
provides an opportunity to describe a child’s challenges, not to define a child.
“In developmental screening, information from parents
is critical. They can fill out questionnaires and other screening tools in
the waiting room. While the pediatrician
is busy, the family can be put to work. With screening tools, pediatricians
can detect 70% or 80% of children with problems.” (Frances Page Glascoe,
Ph.D., Professor of Pediatrics)
For more information, please see examples of
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