The first few steps or words that a parent witnesses their child taking can be precious moments. However for some children, they may not come on time.
Surveillance and screening during routine pediatric visits are essential in being able to catch developmental delays early and act on them quickly by referral to educational programs that can help. The typical screening months for developmental delay are during the 9, 18, and the 24 or 30 month visits for general developmental screening. The 18 and 24 month visits are recommended for autism specific screening. The Ages and Stages Questionnaire, as well as the Child Development Inventory are two of the recommended screening tools by the American Academy of Pediatrics to be used for developmental assessment. These questionnaires are simple and effective surveillance tools that you and your pediatrician can go through together.
Just as it is important to not miss your child’s vaccination scheduling, it is also vitally important to not miss opportunities for developmental screening. Your pediatrician as well as early childhood educators are important resources in identifying delays when they are present.
If you are concerned about your child’s development, I recommend scheduling a pediatric visit solely for the purposes of focusing on your child’s growth and milestones. Your doctor will be able to spend more time with you tuning in on your child’s development.