Developmental Screening

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According to the AAP, developmental screening does not result in a specific diagnosis or treatment plan but identifies areas in which a child's development differs from age-related norms. Nevertheless, developmental screening should be followed by a positive clinical action that has the potential to enhance the child's development.

If the child's developmental status is found to be within normal limits, relevant clinical actions include the reassurance of parents and anticipatory guidance addressing the parents' concerns and/or relevant developmental issues for the child. If the screening test is positive, the family should be referred for evaluation and treatment planning, such as to a psychologist or a speech, language, or occupational therapist, and early intervention.

Knowledge of available community resources will improve effective follow-up. Consider the following when researching your options.

Available Community Resources Implications
What community resources are available to assess the developmental problems that are identified by screening and plan for treatment? Consider developing a referral network of psychologists, speech/language therapists to provide occupational and physical therapy to your patients and their families.
Does your community's Early Intervention System recommend a specific instrument or method for documenting need for services? Consider use of the recommended procedures to facilitate and streamline referrals into the early intervention system.
What community resources are available for early intervention for developmental problems? Find out about available community resources for early intervention. Consider developing a close collaboration with early intervention programs in your community.

Back to Part I: Defining Your Practice's Screening Needs

Go to Part II: Guides to Facilitate Your Choice and Use of Screening Instruments

Publication Details

Publication Date:
January 1, 2008