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Parents' Concerns and Risk of Developmental Delay

Parental concerns and observations about their child's development and behavior are an important indication of a child's potential risk for developmental, behavioral, and/or social delays. Parents were asked about eight specific concerns they may have about their child's learning, development, or behavior that can predict risk of developmental issues. These items were based on the Parent's Evaluation of Developmental Status (PEDS©).1 The parents of 40.1 percent of children aged 0-5 years reported at least one concern from this list.

The percentage of children whose parents had one or more concerns varied by the child's sex and race/ethnicity. The parents of more than 44 percent of boys aged 0-5 years reported at least one concern, compared to the parents of 36.0 percent of girls (data not shown). White children were least likely to have their parents report one of more concerns (34.9 percent), while children of other races and Hispanic children were most likely (50.6 and 48.1 percent, respectively). The parents of 45.2 percent of Black children also had one or more concerns.

Some of the eight concerns listed in the survey were considered to be "predictive" of developmental delay based on the age of the child. A child whose parents reported having one of these predictive concerns was classified as being at moderate risk of delay and a child with two or more predictive concerns was considered to be at high risk. The parents of 26.4 percent of children aged 4 months to 5 years indicated that they were at moderate or high risk for delay. The percentage of children at moderate or high risk of developmental or behavioral delays also varied by sex and race/ethnicity. Overall, boys were slightly more likely to be at moderate or high risk for delay than girls (29.2 versus 23.4 percent, respectively; data not shown). Approximately one-third of Hispanic children and children of other races were at moderate or high risk for delays, compared to 21.4 percent of White and 23.0 percent of multiracial children.

1 Glascoe FP. Parents´ Evaluation of Developmental Status. Nashville, TN: Ellsworth & Vandermeer Press LLC, 2006.