“Learn the Signs. Act Early.” Health Education Campaign

The “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” campaign, launched in October 2004 after extensive research and with help and support from national partners, aims to change perceptions about the importance of identifying developmental concerns early and gives parents and professionals the tools to help.

The campaign promotes awareness of

  • Healthy developmental milestones during early childhood.
  • The importance of tracking each child’s development.
  • The importance of acting early if there are concerns.

National, state, and local programs that serve parents of young children can add “Learn the Signs.” materials to their resources for parents.

  • CDC materials help programs address the need for child development resources.
  • Programs can customize CDC materials with their own contact information and distribute them to the populations they serve.
Comments from a Parent

“This campaign and its materials are invaluable to us. It provides one more way we can help child care providers deliver superior care.”

—professional child care association board member, Texas

Campaign Results

More parents look for developmental milestones:
Analyses of survey results by Daniel et al. (2009) showed that 3 years after campaign launch, more parents strongly agreed that they look for the developmental milestones their child should be reaching (66% in 2007 vs. 51% in 2004; P< 0.05).

More pediatricians talk confidently with parents about their child’s development, know about resources, and can educate parents:
Pediatricians aware of the campaign were significantly more confident discussing cognitive development (84% vs. 74%; P< 0.05) with parents of their patients. In addition, pediatricians familiar with the campaign were more likely to be aware of resources available for referral and treatment (87% vs. 70%; P< 0.01) and to have resources to educate parents than physicians who had not heard of the campaign (59% vs. 44%; P< 0.02) (Daniel et al., 2009).

Campaign Publications

“Learn the signs. Act early.”: a campaign to help every child reach his or her full potential.
Daniel KL, Prue C, Taylor MK, Thomas J, Scales M. Public Health. 2009 Sep;123 Suppl 1:e11-6.

The Impact of the “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” Public Health Awareness Campaign on Early Intervention Behavior. Patel, Kinjal Prabodh. 2007. Public Health Theses. Paper 3.

Special acknowledgments to the subject matter experts and others who contributed to the review of data and selection of developmental milestones, especially Paul H. Lipkin, MD, Michelle M. Macias, MD, Julie F. Pajek, PhD, Judith S. Shaw, EdD, MPH, RN, Karnesha Slaughter, MPH, Jane K. Squires, PhD, Toni M. Whitaker, MD, Lisa D. Wiggins, PhD, and Jennifer M. Zubler, MD.

Sincere gratitude to Natalia Benza, MD and José O. Rodríguez, MD, MBA for their thoughtful review of the Spanish-language translation of these milestones.