Early Childhood Development

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Developmental Screening


Development Surveillance: What, Why and How

This video from the American Academy of Pediatrics highlights important developmental surveillance steps that pediatricians should take during each health supervision visit. Pediatrician Dr. Shelly Flais discusses recommendations, tips, and resources available to pediatricians, clinicians, and families. Together, surveillance and screening are essential components to promote the optimal development of children.

The AAP recommends conducting developmental surveillance at every health supervision visit and conducting general developmental screening using evidence-based tools at 9, 18, and 30 months, or whenever a concern is expressed. In addition, autism-specific screening is recommended at ages 18 and 24 months, and social-emotional screening is recommended at regular intervals.​

Browse the resources below for information and tools to support effective developmental screening, referral, and follow-up and management of developmental concerns.

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Identifying Infants and Young Children with Developmental Disorders in the Medical Home: An Algorithm for Developmental Surveillance and Screening2014PolicyYesPolicy statement including an algorithm to support health care professionals in addressing developmental concerns in children from birth through 3 years of age. CPT codes for developmental screening are included.
Identification, Evaluation, and Management of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder2020ReportYesClinical report describing the role pediatricians play in the identification and management of children with autism spectrum disorders. Provides an algorithm for early identification of these disorders.
Promoting Optimal Development: Identifying Infants and Young Children With Developmental Disorders Through Developmental Surveillance and Screening2020PolicyYesPolicy statement focusing on the need to increase screening, with recommendations for changes in practices and health systems.
Early Intervention Referral and Feedback Form Template2013ToolkitYesTemplate to assist pediatric health care providers in establishing a feedback loop with Early Intervention.
Learn The Signs. Act Early2020WebsiteNoOffers physician resources to encourage parents to watch for children's developmental milestones and act early on concerns.
Learn The Signs. Act Early Free Materials2020WebsiteNoOffers physician free materials to encourage parents to watch for children's developmental milestones and act early on concerns.
Executive Summary: Identification, Evaluation, and Management of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder2020ReportYesExecutive summary of the report Identification, Evaluation, and Management of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder.
AAP Statement on US Preventive Services Task Force Final Recommendation Statement on Autism Screening2016ReportYesReaffirms the AAP recommendation that all children be screened for autism spectrum disorders at ages 18 and 24 months.
Bright Futures2020WebsiteYesGuidelines providing a framework and tools for well-child care, including recommended screenings.
Bright Futures Infancy Visit Tools2020WebsiteYesTools focusing on birth to 11 months.
Bright Futures Early Childhood Tools2020WebsiteYesTools focusing on 12 months to 4 years.
Motor Delays: Early Identification and Evaluation 2017ReportYesClinical report with an algorithm for surveillance and screening for motor delay.
Promoting Optimal Development: Screening for Behavioral and Emotional Problems2015ReportYesReport focusing on the need to increase screening, with recommendations for changes in practices and health systems.
The Pediatrician’s Role in Optimizing School Readiness2016PolicyYesDiscusses pediatrician’s unique opportunity to identify physical, social, and emotional factors that adversely affect school readiness through screening, encouraging positive parenting, and appropriate referrals to community resources.
Developmental Screening Quality Improvement Toolkit2016ToolkitYesToolkit including resources from the Don't Just Wait and See project, designed to guide AAP chapters, organizations, or individual practices in implementing their own quality improvement initiative to improve rates of developmental screening.
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