Nassau County Developmental Screening

What is developmental screening?

Developmental screening is a periodic, standardized, procedural process that evaluates a child’s development using validated and reliable tools. This is different than “surveillance”, which is an ongoing process that doctors engage in when they typically see children. Without a standardized screen, only 30% of developmental disabilities are identified. With a standardized, valid, reliable screening tool, 70-80% of children with developmental disabilities are correctly identified.

Why is developmental screening important?
Twenty percent of children have developmental disorders or delays. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) clearly recommends developmental screening at 9 months, 18 months and 30 months and whenever a concern is raised for all children, as well as surveillance of child development at every well child visit. Only 20-30% of children with developmental disorders are identified before entering school, which means too many kids are not entering school ready to succeed. New York is lagging behind other states in developmental screening- the state ranked 49th out of 51 states in a Commonwealth Fund analysis on appropriate standardized developmental screening for young children during well child visits. Fewer than 12% of New York children are receiving necessary screenings.

Implementing the AAP recommendations across Nassau County can improve school readiness by identifying needs and providing necessary services at the earliest, most effective times. It can also save significant costs by preventing later intervention and remediation.

How is Docs for Tots helping to improve Development Screening in Nassau County?

Through grants from the FAR Fund, Hagedorn Foundation, and Rauch Foundation, Docs for Tots is working with health care practices in New York by:

• Supporting doctors in their Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) efforts through aligning early screening and referral practices with core NCQA and NYS requirements
• Linking parents and doctors to community resources to support the youngest children
• Providing a learning community to share successes, challenges and opportunities

Priority Issues


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Investing in quality early learning programs is the most efficient way to affect school and life success and to reduce social expenditures later.

James Heckman, economist, Nobel laureate