Developmental Surveillance Resources
for Healthcare Providers
In addition to early childhood screenings, the American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends developmental surveillance, a flexible, longitudinal, continuous, and cumulative process, at each health supervision visit to help identify children with developmental concerns. CDC’s “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” program has FREE parent-friendly milestone checklists and other resources for children 2 months to 5 years of age to support healthcare providers with this process. Watch a webinar hosted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, that focuses on understanding and incorporating Developmental Surveillance into your practice.
CDC’s Learn the Signs. Act Early. materials include developmental milestone checklists to help parents track milestones between visits and provide guidance about what steps to take if they have concerns, like talking with their child’s healthcare provider. They have been tested for clarity, ease of understanding, have an engaging design and are written at a fifth grade reading level. Encouraging parents to complete checklists can help with developmental surveillance during health supervision visits.
The checklists are
- Available within CDC’s free Milestone Tracker app
- Free to download and print in your office
- Available to order in limited quantities
- Available in English and Spanish, with some in simplified Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean, and other languages
- Able to be customized by adding your practice’s logo
View, print, or order milestone checklistspdf icon, CDC’s Milestone Tracker app, and other free resources to help with developmental surveillance at www.cdc.gov/ActEarly/Materials.
“Learn the Signs. Act Early.”
One Doctor’s Story
Janet Siddiqui, M.D., is a pediatrician and office medical director at Johns Hopkins Community Physicians in Odenton, Maryland.
- Print and post FREE Milestone Tracker app posters [617 KB, 1 Page, 508] in exam rooms; encourage families to download the app and complete a checklist.
- Review the app’s milestone summary during health supervision visits
- For families who prefer to use paper or speak languages other than English or Spanish, print and give the milestone checklists. Laminate the checklists and reuse as needed.
- Use a web button to link your practice website to Learn the Signs. Act Early. resources
- Use prepared social media content to promote developmental monitoring at home
- Make the case with your colleagues for using materials routinely
- Share the Healthcare Provider Primer, that explains the benefits of using LTSAE materials in pediatric settings and how to access materials and easily integrate them within practices. Primer in English [233 KB, 2 pages, 508] Primer in Spanish [242 KB, 2 Pages, 508]
- Include a PowerPoint slide [PPT – 3.11 MB] featuring the Milestone Tracker app during your next presentation and share how it can be used to help with developmental surveillance.
- AAP’s Family Friendly Referral Guide
This free, printable handout is available in English [629 KB, 2 pages, 508] and Spanish to use with families and/or caregivers to support them in taking the next steps when developmental referrals are needed. Healthcare providers can fill in the types of referrals being made and let families know how to communicate any barriers they may be experiencing in the referral process.
- Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive Screening Passport to print and use with families.
- Brazelton Touchpoints Development is a Journey Roadmap
This roadmap is designed for pediatric primary care providers to facilitate conversations if there are developmental concerns and/or after developmental screening using seven short and simple steps to actively engage parents and other caregivers in planning for their child’s developmental needs and enhance the provider-parent partnership.
Development is a Journey conversation roadmap| Roadmap Background and Guidance
Our practice uses the ‘Learn the Signs. Act Early.’ milestone checklists and they have significantly improved our ability to conduct developmental surveillance with our patients. Our parents and providers love these resources!
– Michelle Grier-Hall MD, FAAP, Medical Director of Pediatrics, Escambia Community Clinics, Inc., Pensacola, FL
I regularly use Learn the Signs. Act Early. milestone checklists for developmental surveillance at well visits to help identify children with developmental concerns.
– Cecily Kelly, MD, FAAFP, Kelly Family Clinic, New Braunfels, TX
Developmental surveillance and screening together are more likely to identify the 1 in 6 children with a developmental disability than either one alone. Identifying these children is important so they can receive early intervention services that help improve skills, abilities, future school performance, and later success in life.
- This video from the AAP discusses developmental surveillance recommendations, tips, and resources.
- This study showed that children receiving developmental monitoring and screening together were more likely to receive early intervention.
This video from AAP shows how obtaining developmental information from early childhood professionals, and sharing information back, can improve early identification.
- Perform the 6 steps of developmental surveillance at each health supervision visit:
- Encourage parents to monitor milestones between visits and share results with you:
- Print and post FREE Milestone Tracker app posters [617 KB, 1 Page, 508]in exam rooms; encourage families to download the app and complete a checklist.
- Print and give milestone checklists [4 MB, 24 Pages, 508]to families who prefer paper or speak languages other than English or Spanish; laminate and reuse them as needed.
- Conduct early childhood screenings as recommended by the AAP, using validated screening tools at recommended ages and if surveillance reveals a concern.
- Refer children with concerning results for further evaluation AND to your state’s early intervention program.
These free resources can help healthcare providers obtain Continuous Medical Education (CME) and Maintenance of Certification (MOC), and implement a Quality Improvement (QI) project in healthcare settings.
The AAP offers this FREE online PediaLink course that highlights the importance of developmental surveillance as an essential component of the new recommendations in the clinical report titled, “Promoting Optimal Development: Identifying Infants and Young Children with Developmental Disorders Through Developmental Surveillance and Screening.” You do not need to be an AAP member to register and receive credit. This course will help pediatricians recognize the value of early identification and intervention when developmental delays are suspected, and to identify the key surveillance and screening steps to incorporate into practice. Participants are eligible for 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ and 1 Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Part 2 point.
The AAP offers this FREE, self-paced, online PediaLink course to educate pediatric clinicians about evidence-based practices in caring for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). You do not need to be an AAP member to register and receive credit. The course consists of 7 units, each grounded in recommendations from the AAP clinical report, “Identification, Evaluation and Management of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.” Learners may complete all units or select specific units they would like to complete based on their needs, capacity, and professional interests. Units within the course are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ and Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Part 2 points.
This toolkit was developed by CDC and AAP to assist providers with implementing a MOC part 4 project on developmental surveillance and screening in the office.
Identify and discuss developmental surveillance best practices in your office setting. This free training, developed with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, includes a ready-to-use PowerPoint presentation, facilitator script, and case study. The training can be facilitated by providers or staff in various roles and is specifically designed to “spark” discussion and reflection. Facilitators can anticipate the training to last approximately 15-30 minutes and can be presented anywhere from staff meetings to professional development opportunities. Content in the training is grounded in the recently published AAP clinical report, “Promoting Optimal Development: Identifying Infants and Young Children with Developmental Disorders Through Developmental Surveillance and Screening.” Download a copy to present to your team today!
AAP Chapter Resource Guide
The chapter resource guide, Support for Pediatric Clinicians Conducting Developmental Surveillance, Screening, Referral, and Follow-up, is based on feedback received from chapters focused on early identification of developmental delays and disabilities. It covers how to assess community assets, discovering potential community partners, collaborating with your state’s CDC Act Early Ambassador, and finding resources to facilitate developmental surveillance and screening.
Identifying Risks, Strengths, and Protective Factors for Children and Families: A Resource for Clinicians Conducting Developmental Surveillance
A study from the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics indicates LTSAE may improve developmental surveillance by increasing parent’s awareness of and discussion about milestones.
A study from the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics suggests that LTSAE materials may help improve developmental surveillance by increasing parent-physician communication about development.
Early intervention contact information by state.
A tool developed by AAP and CDC on physical developmental delays and what to look for.
American Academy of Pediatrics’ Screening Technical Assistance and Resource Center for information on screening tools, practice resources, and technical assistance.
- A Healthcare provider guide to encourage healthy child development, universal developmental and behavioral screening for children, and support for the families.
Developmental Monitoring and Screening for Health Professionals
Access information on developmental monitoring and screening for health care providers from CDC.
AAP’s Clinical Reports Recommending Developmental Surveillance and Screening
- Promoting Optimal Development: Identifying Infants and Young Children with Developmental Disorders Through Developmental Surveillance and Screening
- Identification, Evaluation, and Management of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Identify and discuss developmental surveillance best practices in your office setting. This free training, developed with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, includes a ready-to-use PowerPoint presentation, facilitator script, and case study.
The Well Visit Planner® (WVP) is a brief family-completed, online pre-visit planning tool, available in English and Spanish, carefully aligned with national Bright Futures Guidelines that covers all 15 recommended well visits between a child’s first week of life through age six. The WVP supports a comprehensive, strengths-based, and personalized approach to well-child visits and can be used to document completion of required screenings (including but not limited to developmental and maternal depression) while prioritizing trust and family-centered care.
Watch this overview video of the Cycle of Engagement Well Visit Planner Approach to learn more. Download CAHMI’s COE WVP Getting Started Toolkit and visit the CAHMI website to create your COE account and customized Well Visit Planner tool today.