Developmental screening is an important part in a child’s healthy development. A developmental screener is a tool that takes a closer look at how a child is developing. The tool used can be a test for a child or it can consist of a parent answering questions about what the child can and cannot do. The tools that are used are based on extensive research that are developed to see if a child is reaching developmental milestones. These tools look at the five areas of development, cognitive or thinking, social emotional, communication, adaptive and self-help, and motor skills.

Infants and toddlers develop and learn at different paces. However, when a child does not master a skill by a specific age, he or she may have a developmental delay. Early diagnosis and treatment of developmental delays can make a huge difference in helping the child achieve success. In our community all families and children have access to developmental screenings and to resources that promote healthy development in our children.

When Should a Child be Screened?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children participate in a developmental screening at least at ages 9 months, 18 months, and 24 or 30 months.

Where Can a Child be Screened?

A child’s primary care provider will complete a developmental screening at each well child check. Local child care centers such as Kid Central and Kiddie Campus complete regular developmental screenings. Programs such as Early Head Start and Head Start complete screenings. The Grantsburg, Siren, and Webster elementary schools do as well. Community programs such as the Burnett County Family Resource Center and Healthy Families of Burnett County Home Visiting Program are available. The many resources that Burnett County Health and Human Services employs such as the Birth to Three Program, the Public Health Nurse, and Social Workers will complete screenings.

What Comes After the Screening?

Once a developmental screening has been completed, it will be scored by a professional. The scores will tell a parent if their child is on track or at risk of a developmental delay. If the screening shows a child is on track the screener may discuss activities to continue on track development or may suggest the family attend playgroups or activities at the local library or Family Resource Center. If the screening does show that the child is at risk for a delay the screener would refer the child to an early intervention program. These programs include Birth to Three, Early Head Start, Head Start, or the school Special Education Programs, dependent on the age of the child.

If you ever have any concerns for your child or just want more information about developmental screenings you can contact your child’s primary care provider or any one of the resources listed above.

Submitted by: Burnett County Public Health

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