Promoting Optimal Development: Identifying Infants and Young Children With Developmental Disorders Through Developmental Surveillance and Screening.
Early identification and intervention for developmental disorders are critical to the well-being of children and are the responsibility of pediatric professionals as an integral function of the medical home. This report models a universal system of developmental surveillance and screening for the early identification of conditions that affect children's early and long-term development and achievement, followed by ongoing care. These conditions include autism, deafness/hard-of-hearing, intellectual and motor disabilities, behavioral conditions, and those seen in other medical conditions. Developmental surveillance is supported at every health supervision visit, as is as the administration of standardized screening tests at the 9-, 18-, and 30-month visits. Developmental concerns elicited on surveillance at any visit should be followed by standardized developmental screening testing or direct referral to intervention and specialty medical care. Special attention to surveillance is recommended at the 4- to 5-year well-child visit, prior to entry into elementary education, with screening completed if there are any concerns. Developmental surveillance includes bidirectional communication with early childhood professionals in child care, preschools, Head Start, and other programs, including home visitation and parenting, particularly around developmental screening. The identification of problems should lead to developmental and medical evaluations, diagnosis, counseling, and treatment, in addition to early developmental intervention. Children with diagnosed developmental disorders are identified as having special health care needs, with initiation of chronic condition management in the pediatric medical home.
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