Screening tools for developmental delays still not routinely used

July 1, 2011

Despite an increased use of formal screening tools to identify developmental delays in young children, a recent survey reveals that about half of pediatricians do not use them routinely.

Despite an increased use of formal screening tools to identify developmental delays in young children, a recent survey reveals that about half of pediatricians do not use them routinely.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued recommendations in 2001 that all children should receive standardized developmental screening.

Researchers from the AAP compared the results of 2 national surveys of pediatricians, one conducted in 2002 and the other in 2009, which included questions on the use of standardized screening tools to identify children from birth to 35 months who are at risk for developmental delay.

Barriers to greater use of screening tools may include administration time and cost and the lack of a gold standard screening tool, the researchers speculate.

Radecki L, Sand-Loud N, O'Conner KG, Sharp S, Olson LM. Trends in the use of standardized tools for developmental screening in early childhood: 2002-2009. Pediatrics. 2011;128(1):14-19.