Identifying and intervening in early childhood is the most efficient use of resources and provides the best results for families that are faced with the challenges of raising an atypically developing child. Many families face this challenge – about 20% of children have developmental disorders. Routine developmental screening by pediatric providers is a critical means of identifying these children early and is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Yet only 20-30% of children with developmental disorders are identified before entering school and less than half of health providers are regularly screening with a valid tool. The result is too many kids are not entering school ready to succeed. Different states have taken a variety of approaches to developing statewide systems of developmental screenings. Docs for Tots works with pediatricians and others to increase the use of standardized developmental screening procedures through communication, education and training, tools and technical assistance.
To increase developmental screening, you can:
- Advocate for support of developmental screening in Medicaid and other health insurance coverage
- Implement a public awareness campaign about developmental screening
- Organize communities to conduct developmental screening
- Link doctors and others positioned to screen with community resources and organizations that can support their efforts
- Encourage parents to ensure their child is screened when appropriate
- Engage doctors as public champions of your advocacy agenda by partnering with Docs for Tots