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Developmental Delays In Children

Screening detects developmental delays in children—and celebrates milestones.

Screening young children is an effective, efficient way for professionals to gauge developmental progress and determine meaningful next steps—at a time when action can have its greatest impact: during a child’s first years of life.

Because social-emotional and developmental delays in children can be subtle and can occur in children who appear to be developing typically, most children who would benefit from early intervention are not identified until after they start school. In fact—this happens 70% of the time when busy pediatricians and specialists rely on clinical judgment alone.1

Research underscores the importance of early intervention:

  • Developmental delays, learning disorders, and behavioral and social-emotional problems are estimated to affect 1 in every 6 children.2
  • Only 20% to 30% of these children are identified as needing help before school begins.3
  • Intervention prior to kindergarten has huge academic, social, and economic benefits. Studies have shown that children who receive early treatment for developmental delays are more likely to graduate from high school, hold jobs, live independently, and avoid teen pregnancy, delinquency, and violent crime, which results in a savings to society of about $30,000 to $100,000 per child.4
  • If social-emotional problems are identified and addressed early, children are less likely to be placed in special education programs—and later in life, they’re also less likely to experience school failure and unemployment.

Influential laws and organizations have made screening a top priority:

  • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires states to identify, locate, and evaluate all children with disabilities who are in need of early intervention or special education services.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all infants and young children be screened for delays as a regular part of their ongoing health care.5
  • The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and the Child Neurology Society (CNS) call for screening at all well-child visits from infancy through school-age and “at any age thereafter if concerns are raised about social acceptance, learning, or behavior.”6
  • Medicaid’s Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) benefit requires screening at each well-child visit.

 1 Glascoe, F.P. (2000). Early detection of developmental and behavioral problems. Pediatrics in Review, 21(8), 272–280.
2 Dunkle, M. (Fall 2004). High Quality Developmental Screening. Developmental & Behavioral News, 13(2).
3 Component Seven: Surveillance and Screening Facilitator Manual, Medical Home Initiatives for Children with Special Needs. Retrieved January 2, 2006, Facilitator.pdf
4 Glascoe, F.P., Shapiro, H.L. (2004, May 27). Introduction to Developmental and Behavioral Screening.developmental behavioral pediatrics online. Retrieved December 16, 2005, from
5 American Academy of Pediatrics (2001, July). Developmental Surveillance and Screening of Infants and Young Children, Pediatrics, 108(1), 192–196.
6 American Academy of Neurology and the Child Neurology Society, (2000, August). Practice parameter: Screening and diagnosis of autism, Neurology, 468–479.

Everything you need to know about screening.

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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