Developmental/Behavioral Screening

One out of six children are diagnosed with a developmental disorder and/or behavioral problem.

By incorporating developmental surveillance and screening into preventive health care visits, the pediatrician has the ideal opportunity to offer anticipatory guidance to the family about supporting their child's development and to facilitate early detection of a disorder.1 Understanding the importance of medical home in identifying developmental/behavioral issues ensures early treatment, access to early intervention programs, better school placement, and ultimately better developmental outcomes.2

Educational Initiatives

Act Early on Developmental Concerns: Partnering with Early Intervention Teleconference

The American Academy of Pediatrics Division of Community-based Initiatives and Division of Children with Special Needs co-sponsored the Act Early on Developmental Concerns: Partnering with Early Intervention Teleconference on July 14, 2008. To view PowerPoint slides and an audio file of the conference, click here.

By the end of the teleconference, participants are able to:

  • Describe importance of referring children to Early Intervention and follow up services as soon as a developmental issue is suspected
  • Understand the role of the Early Intervention program
  • Utilize strategies identified on the teleconference to form partnerships, encourage referrals, and improve communication with early intervention and community services

The speakers include:

  • Georgina Peacock, MD, MPH, FAAP — Medical Lead, CDC/National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
  • Layla Mohammed, MD, FAAP — Pediatrician, Ypsilanti Pediatrics
  • Diane Zedan — Director, Special Education First Steps Washtenaw/Early On
Policy Statements

American Academy of Pediatrics; Council on Children With Disabilities, Section on Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics, Bright Futures Steering Committee and Medical Home Initiatives for Children With Special Needs Project Advisory Committee. Identifying Infants and Young Children with Developmental Disorders in the Medical Home: An Algorithm for Developmental Surveillance and Screening. Pediatrics. 2006;118(1):405-420.

American Academy of Pediatrics; Committee on Early Childhood and Adoption and Dependent Care. Developmental Issues for Young Children in Foster Care. Pediatrics. 2000;106(5):1145-1150.

American Academy of Pediatrics; Council on Children With Disabilities. Role of the Medical Home in Family-Centered Early Intervention Services. Pediatrics. 2007;120(5):1153-1158.

Periodicals/Articles

Chen IC, Lee HC, Yeh GC, Lai CH, Chen SC. The Relationship Between Parental Concerns and Professional Assessment in Developmental Delay in Infants and Children—A Hospital-based Study. J Chin Med Assoc. 2004;67(5):239-444.

Glascoe FP. Parents' Evaluation of Developmental Status: How Well Do Parents' Concerns Identify Children with Behavioral and Emotional Problems. Clinical Pediatrics. 2003;42(2):133-8.

Kelly DP, Aylward GP. Identifying School Performance Problems in the Pediatric Office. Pediatr Ann. 2005;34(4):288-98.

King TM, Tandon SD, Macias MM, Healy JA, Duncan PM, Swigonski NL, Skipper SM, Lipkin PH. Implementing Developmental Screening and Referrals: Lessons Learned From a National Project. Pediatrics. 2010;125(2);350-360

Resources

Learn the Signs. Act Early.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD), in collaboration with a number of national partners, launched a public awareness campaign called "Learn the Signs. Act Early."  The campaign aims to educate parents about childhood development, including early warning signs of autism and other developmental disorders, and encourages developmental screening and intervention.

Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics Online (DB Peds)
This site is for professionals interested in child development and behavior, especially in the medical setting. It focuses on primary care development and behavior, especially early identification and screening. The learning section features the Toolbox, which links to special article features, keywords, and evidence. Their handouts, include both original and borrowed material suitable for parents.

National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD)
The mission of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is to promote the health of babies, children, and adults, and enhance the potential for full, productive living. NCBDDD's work includes identifying the causes of birth defects and developmental disabilities, helping children to develop and reach their full potential, and promoting health and well-being among people of all ages with disabilities.

Early Intervention

Increasingly, the benefits of early identification and treatment on child health outcomes are being proven.3 A child's primary healthcare professional's ability to perform continuous surveillance and structured screening within the context of a routine, well-child care visit provides an opportunity to identify special health care needs. However, once a child is identified with having a special health care need, appropriate diagnosis and follow-up must readily occur. It is in this "next step" phase that the relationship between the medical home and an early intervention program becomes critical.

Promising Practices

Colorado Assuring Better Child Health and Development (ABCD) Program

  • Focus on State Screening Initiatives—Colorado
    In 2007, Colorado was selected for the ABCD Screening Academy, a project of the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP). With guidance and technical assistance provided by the North Carolina ABCD Program, the Colorado ABCD team decided to focus on integrating standardized tools for developmental screening and surveillance into well-child primary care visits. Resources have been developed by the team to aid medical providers in implementation.
  • Colorado Pediatric Practices Increase Use of Developmental Screening Tool
    In an issue PDF of the NASHP State Health Policy News highlights Colorado's ABCD program, which has increased the number of pediatric practices that use a standardized developmental screening tool as a routine component of well child visits from less than 5% to 70% over the past seven years. One of the program's major successes is the creation of a referral form that meets both health and education privacy requirements (HIPAA/FERPA), contributing to an increase by over 400% in the number of referrals to Colorado's Early Intervention that came from primary health care practices.

 

1. American Academy of Pediatrics; Council on Children With Disabilities, Section on Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics, Bright Futures Steering Committee and Medical Home Initiatives for Children With Special Needs Project Advisory Committee. Identifying Infants and Young Children With Developmental Disorders in the Medical Home: An Algorithm for Developmental Surveillance and Screening. Pediatrics. 2006;118(1):405-420.
2. Harris S, Handleman J. Age and IQ at Intake as Predictors of Placement for Young Children with Autism: A Four-to Six-year Follow Up. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 2000;30:137-142.
3. American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Children with Disabilities. Role of the Pediatric Clinician in Family-centered Early Intervention Services. Pediatrics. 2001;107:1155-1157.

 


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