Medical Definition of Test, Denver Developmental Screening

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Reviewed on 9/7/2018

Test, Denver Developmental Screening: The Denver Developmental Screening Test (DDST) is a widely used assessment for examining children 0-6 years of age as to their developmental progress. The name "Denver" reflects the fact that this screening test was created at the University of Colorado Medical Center in Denver.

There are a number of other behavioral assessments for infants and young children. These include:

  • The Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS) devised by the Harvard pediatrician T. Berry Brazleton and better known as "the Brazleton;"
  • The ELM (Early Language Milestone) scale for children 0-3 years of age;
  • The CAT (Clinical Adaptive Test) and CLAMS (Clinical Linguistic and Auditory Milestone Scale) for children 0-3 years of age;
  • The Infant Monitoring System for children aged 4-36 months;
  • The Early Screening Inventory for children 3-6 years of age; and
  • The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test ("the Peabody") for testing children 2 1/2 to 4 years of age.

The purposes of developmental assessment depend on the age of the child. For a newborn, testing can detect neurologic problems, such as cerebral palsy. For an infant, testing often serves to reassure parents or to identify the nature of problems early enough hopefully to treat them. Later in childhood, testing can help delineate academic and social problems, again, hopefully in time to remedy them.

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Reviewed on 9/7/2018