Developmental Screening - Critical for Every Child

Medical Author: Melissa Stoppler, M.D.
Medical Editor: William C. Shiel, Jr, MD, FACP, FACR

Developmental screening is designed to identify problems or delays during normal childhood development. When properly applied, screening tests for developmental or behavioral problems in preschool children allow improved outcomes due to early implementation of treatment.

Developmental delays or behavioral problems that can be identified by screening programs include learning disabilities, speech or language problems, autism, intellectual disability, emotional/behavioral conditions, hearing or vision impairment, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Less than half of these problems are identified before the child reaches school age, meaning that the problems may have worsened and critical intervention opportunities have been missed during the preschool years. Studies have shown that children who receive early intervention and treatment for developmental disorders are more likely to graduate from high school, to hold jobs as adults, and are less likely to commit criminal acts than those who do not receive early intervention.