Taking a first step, waving “bye-bye,” and pointing to something interesting are all developmental milestones, or things most children can do by a certain age. Children reach many milestones in how they play, learn, speak, act, and move. Developmental monitoring and screening are ways to look for your child’s developmental milestones.

Development Monitering

Developmental monitoring observes how your child grows and changes over time and whether your child meets the typical developmental milestones in playing, learning, speaking, behaving, and moving. Your child’s doctor or a trained specialist will ask you questions about your child’s development or will talk and play with your child to see if he or she is developing and meeting milestones.

While it is good idea for a trained specialist to monitor your child’s development, even you can do it. We could provide you with a brief checklist of milestones and you could use it to monitor your child’s development at home. If you notice that your child is not meeting milestones, talk with your doctor who will then take a closer look by using a more thorough test or exam.

FOR All children
BY Doctor or trained specialist
Parent, grandparent or caregiver
WHEN From birth till child turns 6 years; at regular intervals
PURPOSE To celebrate your child’s development
To identify any concerns early
To learn what to expect next
To talk about your child’s progress with doctors
HOW With easy, free checklists
Developmental Screening

Developmental screening should be done by a trained specialist. It takes a closer look at how your child is developing. Your child will get a brief test, or you will complete a questionnaire about your child. The tools used for developmental screening are formal questionnaires or checklists based on research that ask questions about a child’s development, including language, movement, thinking, behavior, and emotions.

Developmental screening is more formal than developmental monitoring and normally done less often than developmental monitoring. Your child should be screened at 9 months, 18 months, and 24 or 30 months.  Your child should also be screened if you or your doctor has a concern.

FOR All children
BY Trained specialist
WHEN At 9, 18, and 24 or 30 months, or whenever there is a concern
PURPOSE To find out if your child needs more help with development, because it is not always obvious to doctors or parent
To find out if a more detailed assessment is required
HOW With a formal, validated screening tool
Developmental Surveillance For At-Risk Babies

Some children are at higher risk for developmental delays due to conditions present at or around birth such as prematurity, low birth weight, or certain medical conditions. While a large percentage of such children will have normal development, parents should be more cautious and vigilant. Additional developmental surveillance, guidance on what milestones to expect next, and stimulating your child through play activities to achieve the next set of milestones, will help limit potential complications.

FOR Babies who are preterm, have low birth weight, have history of pre, peri or post-natal complications or those who have had an extended stay in the Neonatal ICU for a variety of reasons
BY Trained specialist
WHEN From birth till child turns 3 years; at regular intervals
PURPOSE To identify any concerns early
To deal with delays, if any, as soon as they occur
To provide anticipatory guidance on the next set of milestones
To stimulate your child through play to achieve the next milestones
HOW With formal, validated screening and assessment tools, and the use of evidence based techniques to stimulate the next stage of development