3 Benefits of Developmental Screenings

It is perfectly normal for parents to have concerns about their child’s development.  Many parents, especially first time parents, may be unaware of “typical” child development milestones.  These milestones are important guidelines used to monitor and measure a child’s development, especially during the critical time for learning – birth to 5 years of age.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends “regular, universal developmental screenings of infants and toddlers by pediatric healthcare providers at 9, 18 and 30 months of age.”  These are standardized screenings that typically take about 15 – 20 minutes to complete and provide an overall snapshot of your child’s development. They are important for 3 reasons:

1.  Identify Areas of Concern:  These screenings look at all areas of development – including gross and fine motor skills, communication and language, cognitive skills, self-help skills, etc.  Screenings can be completed by your child’s pediatrician, but your child’s daycare, preschool, therapy center or other community organization may also be able to provide a screening for your child if you have concerns about a specific area of development.

2.  Monitor Growth and Development:  By completing screenings at regular intervals (9, 18 and 30 months), the pediatric professional is able to monitor your child’s development to make sure that they are continuing to gain new skills.

3.  Make Referrals for Services:  While screenings alone cannot diagnose a problem or indicate if a child needs therapy, if concerns are noted in any area, referrals can be made in a timely manner.  These referrals could be to your state’s Early Intervention system, specific therapy or education centers, other community programs, etc.

If you have concerns about your child’s development, it’s important for you to talk with your child’s pediatrician.  Always trust your parental instincts and remember that you are the expert on your child.  Tell the pediatric professional your concerns and ask for a screening to be completed if one isn’t offered.

Now It’s Your Turn:  Have you found developmental screenings to be beneficial for you and your child?

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