Recommendations and Guidelines

Photo: child and physician

Developmental Surveillance and Screening

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), January 2020

Early identification of developmental disorders is critical to the well-being of children and their families. It is an integral function of the primary-care medical home and an appropriate responsibility of all pediatric health care professionals.

AAP recommends that developmental surveillance be incorporated at every health supervision visit. Any concerns raised during surveillance should be addressed promptly with standardized developmental screening tests. In addition, screening tests should be administered regularly at the 9-, 18-, and 24- or 30-month visits.

The early identification of developmental problems should lead to further developmental and medical evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment, including early developmental intervention. If a child is diagnosed with a developmental disorder through the evaluation and diagnostic process, they should be identified as a child with special health care needs, and chronic-condition management should be initiated. Identification of a developmental disorder and its underlying etiology may also drive a range of treatment planning, from medical treatment of the child to genetic counseling for his or her parents.

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For information specific to ASD screening and diagnosis, click here.external icon

For information specific to ASD etiologic evaluation, click here.external icon

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