Developmental screening serves a number of important purposes. Its primary purpose is to help identify children who are at risk of developmental delay so that that their needs can be assessed and addressed early in their lives. The developmental screening process itself also creates an opportunity to talk to parents about developmental milestones, so they know what to look for as their children grow. Conducted consistently, screening provides a benchmark for tracking children’s development over time. Intervention and support services provided in early childhood can support children’s development and help them to be ready for school.
Most state Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Medicaid programs support developmental screening by offering reimbursement to providers who use a validated, standardized screening tool. Several state early care and education Quality Rating Improvement Systems include developmental screening as well. Developmental screening is also a Title V National Performance Measure (NPM 6).
Many tools are available to assess children’s development in the early years. Some of the most commonly recommended or used include:
- Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ)
- Parents’ Evaluation of Developmental Status (PEDS)
- Brigance Screen
- Developmental Assessment of Young Children-2nd edition
- Early Screening Profiles
- Infant Developmental Inventory
- Battelle Developmental Inventory
- Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development
- Survey of Well-Being of Children (SWYC)