Over the past year, kids have lost more than educational gains. Many proactive and everyday activities, like health check-ups and social playdates, were put on the backburner.
As restrictions are lifted and we return to normal, now is the time to consider scheduling a developmental screening for your children so they can start the school year on the right foot.
What is childhood developmental screening?
According to the CDC, child developmental monitoring and development screening can help families diagnose and address developmental issues early on. Developmental monitoring or screening is not always about looking for something wrong. It can also be a way to celebrate your child’s development and talk about your progress! By meeting with your pediatrician or a healthcare provider, you can also plan for what will happen next.
Pediatric screenings usually involve assessing the child’s behaviors, such as how they play, learn, speak, behave, and move based on parents, early childhood providers, and other caregiver observations. These elements of a child’s behavior are measured against standardized milestones.
Developmental monitoring should be conducted by a caregiver regularly, and development screening tests are recommended at 9, 18, and 30 months for behavioral screening and 18 and 24 months to screen for autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
The importance of early pediatric screening
Pediatric development is tough to identify and measure. In the US alone, about 1 in 6 children (between the ages of 3 and 17) have at least one developmental or behavioral disability. This would include autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or a learning disorder. Unfortunately, many children have language delays, which could affect how they do in school.
Without early screening, you may not find out that your child has a developmental issue until they fall behind their peers. This can be detrimental to their learning, overall well-being and health.
Most importantly, early pediatric screening will help you look for developmental milestones, identify concerns early, and to evaluate if your child needs help so they can be happier as they learn and grow.
What will pediatric screening identify?
Developmental screening takes a closer look at how your child’s social, physical, and psychological development progresses. This usually involves a brief test that your child must complete and a questionnaire that the caregiver or guardian completes. These tools can then help the health professional to identify potential growth delays, barriers, or differences.
Typically, these screening tests will look at the child’s:
• Language/speech skills
Screening is usually completed after monitoring the child. Still, it can also occur at key milestones (such as the recommended AAP behavioral screening ages) or if you have noticed that your child is not developing in ways that are typical to their peers.
Regular milestones may include simple things, like saying their first words, taking a first step, or waving “goodbye” to a parental figure. If you think that your child should be doing something by their age, and you have tried to teach them how to do it without success, these could be signs of missed developmental milestones.
The CDC provides developmental fact sheets and checklists so that you can get a sense of how your child is progressing or if a check-up is needed.
Affordable pediatric screening
Pediatric screening is not an invasive procedure, and it only involves a visit from a health practitioner. That is why developmental screening can quickly be done in community, school, or early childhood education settings. And, screenings are covered by most insurances, Medicare, and Medicaid, so there is usually little-to-no cost to the parent.
A missed developmental milestone does not always mean that your child is going through a developmental disorder. However, it could mean that there is a chance for this to occur. If your child has a developmental disability, catching it early could alleviate learning barriers, and you could be able to implement adaptive behavior or physical therapy so that they continue to progress alongside their peers.
The CORE Health Partners program was designed to bring the clinic to the community, which means that our local practitioners are ready to meet you where you are so that getting this vital check-up is not disruptive. CORE Health Partners’ clinical staff speaks English, Spanish, and Creole to support all of Collier County’s residents. If you or someone you need needs help with a second opinion or finding a trusted doctor that can come to them, our professional staff would be happy to help you. Visit www.MyCoreHealthPartners.com to request more information.