For children age birth to five, physical, cognitive, linguistic, and social-emotional growth and development occur at a rapid pace. While all children in this age range may not reach developmental milestones (e.g., smiling, saying first words, taking first steps) at the same time, development that does not happen within an expected timeframe can raise concerns about developmental disorders, health conditions, or other factors that may negatively impact the child’s development. Early, frequent screening of young children for healthy growth and evelopment is recommended to help identify potential problems or areas needing further evaluation. By catching developmental issues early, children can be provided with treatment or intervention more effectively, and additional developmental delays or deficits may be prevented.
For developmental screening to be effective, it should begin early in a child’s life-be repeated throughout early childhood; and use reliable, valid screening tools appropriate to the age, culture, and language of the child. This can be a challenge, since very few developmental screening tools are developed or tested with linguistically or culturally diverse samples of children. Further, practitioners may lack the technical training to review and compare complex psychometric information on the quality of developmental screening tools. This compendium has been created to help practitioners better understand this information and make informed choices about the developmental screening tools they use with children birth to age five.Download Publication