Skip Navigation LinksEarly-Interventions-for-Behavioral-and-Emotional-Disorders-AAP-Clinical-Report

aaa print

Early Interventions for Behavioral and Emotional Disorders - AAP Clinical Report

​​​​​​​​​​​Behavior and emotional problems are common in U.S. children, but are not always identified or treated properly. Currently, 11 percent to 20 percent of children suffer from a diagnosed mental or behavioral disorder, yet it is estimated that only 1 in 8 children receive treatment. In a new American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) clinical report, “Promoting Optimal Development: Screening for Behavioral and Emotional Problems,” in the February 2015 Pediatrics (published online Jan. 26), the AAP provides tools for pediatricians to serve as a blueprint to help carry out behavioral and mental health screenings. With planning and preparation, pediatricians should prepare their offices to screen children, and collaborate with community mental health providers when a child or parent has a positive screening result. Pediatricians can also establish office routines for screening, including beginning screening in the first year of life and at regular intervals throughout childhood and adolescence. Children with significant risk factors such as substance abuse issues or family psychosocial problems should be screened and monitored more frequently. Study authors conclude that because pediatricians are in a unique position to intervene before problems become more serious, screening regularly in pediatric settings will promote earlier identification and treatment of these mental and behavioral problems.


The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 62,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults (

 AAP Media Contacts