We believe parents are experts on their children.

Parents may not be child development specialists, but they are the experts on their child—and research has shown that parents’ concerns are accurate predictors of developmental delays. If you have a concern about your child’s development, trust your instincts.

Even if it turns out that your child is experiencing a typical variation in his or her individual development, it’s better to be sure. The best thing you can do is raise your concern with a professional who is familiar with child development.

Studies have shown that effective, early intervention can make a dramatic difference in the lives of children with developmental delays and disorders. Many parents’ concerns are not validated until their child starts school, when learning difficulties begin to become apparent. Better to check early when your child can reap the benefits of early intervention.

“If you have ever had concerns about your child’s development, you are not alone. Whether you’re worried about your child’s use of language, ability to relate to others, or any other developmental concerns, your child relies on you to share your observations with those who can help. Having occasional concerns is a natural part of parenting. But when these concerns persist, it’s time to take action.” First Signs, a nonprofit dedicated to public awareness and training on early detection of developmental delays and disorders

Pediatricians—Often Families’ First Stop

When parents have a concern, the professional they are most likely to approach is their child’s primary care physician. It is important that your child’s physician is using a validated screening tool like Ages & Stages Questionnaires®, Third Edition (ASQ-3™) to be sure he or she is accurately catching children who should receive further evaluation for developmental delays.

Ask your child’s pediatrician to conduct screening using a research-validated developmental screening tool such as ASQ. Read tips for sharing your concerns from First Signs.

Surprisingly, research shows that when physicians rely on their professional observations alone—as many do1—they identify fewer than 30% of children later discovered to have developmental delays2,3. But, when they use a validated developmental screening tool, they increase that figure to 70%–80%4.

Given the importance of early identification and intervention for children who have delays, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that primary care physicians conduct screenings at well-child visits.

If you have concerns about your child’s behavior or social-emotional development, be sure to also ask your child’s pediatrician to conduct screening using the Ages & Stages Questionnaires®: Social-Emotional, Second Edition (ASQ:SE-2™).


[1] Radecki, L., Sand-Loud, N., O’Connor, K.G., Sharp, S., & Olson, L.M. (2011). Trends in the use of standardized tools for developmental screening in early childhood: 2002-2009. Pediatrics, 128, 1, 14-18.
[2] Hix-Small, H., Marks, K., & Nickel, R. (2007, August). Impact of implementing developmental screening at 12 months and 24 months in a pediatric practice, Pediatrics, 120(2), 381–389.
[3] Glascoe, F.P. (2000). Early detection of developmental and behavioral problems. Pediatrics in Review, 21(8), 272–280.
[4] Squires, J., Nickel, R.E., & Eisert, D. (1996). Early detection of developmental problems: Strategies for monitoring young children in the practice setting. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 17, 420–427.

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    What ASQ Users are Saying

    “What I love about the ASQ is that it allows our staff to catch delays quickly and allows us to get our clients the early intervention programs that they sometimes need. In many cases [ASQ] helps us catch children up before they start kindergarten, therefore providing children with the start that they deserve.

    Sharon Gee, Supervisor, Healthy Families Niagara