Developmental Screening

Assessing children’s development is one of the most important and valuable aspects of well-child care. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and Bright Futures guidelines call for routine screening by pediatric health care providers for developmental and behavioral problems and delays using standardized developmental screening tools.1,2 Parents were asked a series of questions to assess whether children received basic developmental assessments and to measure whether a parent completed a developmental and behavioral screening tool. Specifically, parents were asked:

  1. whether the child’s doctors or other health care providers asked the parent if he/she had concerns about the child’s learning, development or behavior; and
  2. whether parents filled out a questionnaire about specific concerns and observations they had about their child’s development, communication or social behavior.

These items were based on the Promoting Healthy Development Survey.3

Of children aged 10 months-5 years, the parents of 30.8 percent reported that they received a standardized developmental screening. The proportion of children who received a developmental screen did not vary substantially by income, but uninsured children were less likely than those with either public or private insurance to receive a screening.

1 American Academy of Pediatrics. Statement on Identifying Infants and Young Children with Developmental Disorders in the Medical Home. July 2006

2 Green M, Palfrey JS, eds. 2002 Bright Futures: Guidelines for Health Supervision of Infants, Children, and Adolescents (2nd ed. rev). Arlington, VA: National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health.

3 Bethell C, Reuland C, Schor E. Assessing health system provision of well-child care: The Promoting Healthy Development Survey. Pediatrics 2001;107(5):1084-94.