Developmental Screenings and Special Clinics

If you think your child is not meeting the milestones for their age, talk to their doctor.

Ask for a developmental screening.

Image of a family holding a small child, next to a doctor with a checklist examining the child.

 

Developmental Screenings:

  • Your doctor will ask some questions about your concerns and your child's development to see if they need some extra help.

  • They can check for physical, developmental, social or emotional issues.

  • They can be done with children as old as 5.

There are several different screening tools doctors can use. They are questionnaires that ask about different categories of your child's development:

  • Gross Motor — Large movements like crawling or walking

  • Fine Motor — Small movements like grabbing a toy or holding a spoon

  • Problem-solving — Figuring out how to get what they want

  • Personal/Social — How they interact with other people

When should my child get screenings?

  • Any time you notice something that worries you

  • At least at these ages: 9 months, 18 months, and 24 or 30 months

  • Some screening tools suggest these ages: 2 months, 4 months, then every 4-6 months until age 5

  • To learn more, go to this website: CDC: Learn the Signs. Act Early. (It will open in a new tab on your screen.)

Also click on the link at the bottom of the page to download a helpful fact sheet. (It'll open in a new tab or appear in the bottom corner of your screen.)

Your doctor may say 'Don't worry, let's see how it goes.' But if you are still worried, insist on a screening. Don't take no for an answer.

You can also take your child to a developmental clinic:

  • If you are not satisfied with the results from your child's regular doctor, you can take your child to a special clinic. There are places where they have lots of experience testing children in more depth for developmental issues.

  • While your doctor can do a brief developmental screening, these clinics can do a more thorough assessment.

Click on the box below to learn more:

There are some clinics that specialize in testing children for developmental delays and other issues.

What do these clinics do?
  • They will do a thorough evaluation of different aspects of a child's development and medical status.

  • For example: physical, psychological, speech and communication, learning disabilities, autism, etc.

  • They will tell you what further tests your child may need, and suggest what to do next.

  • They can give you the test results and paperwork with your child's diagnosis (if there is one).  You'll need these when you apply for services from the state or your parish school system.

Depending on where you live, you may have to travel a ways, but it may be worth it.

To find a clinic, go to the Resource Directory, put in your zip code and choose Developmental Pediatricians.

Sources: CDC, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

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