Developmental Screenings Help Your Child Grow Up Healthy!

Developmental Screenings Help Your Child Grow Up Healthy! 

 

Every family looks forward to seeing a child’s first smile, first step, and first words. Every child develops at their own pace, and these signs of healthy development, known as “milestones,” vary as children grow older. You can familiarize yourself with the CDC milestones to know what to expect as children grow. Regular developmental screenings with early childhood professionals can help keep track of your child’s developmental milestones and give you information and tools to support your child as they grow. 

A new law requires doctors to screen children enrolled in Medi-Cal for developmental delays when they are 9, 18, and 30 months old, or whenever a concern is expressed. Screenings help determine if the child is developing as expected or might need additional support, such as speech therapy or occupational therapy to help build their motor skills.

You know your child best – if your child is not meeting the milestones for their age, or if you think there could be a problem with the way your child plays, learns, speaks, acts, and moves, talk to your child’s doctor and share your concerns.

How to Talk to Your Pediatrician if You Have Concerns

Voicing concerns about your child’s development can be scary, but it is critically important. To make sure you are prepared for a conversation with your child’s pediatrician, the CDC has created this guide with helpful hints to help you prepare for the conversation, ask the right questions, and make sure you are clear on any next steps. 

What to Expect During Developmental Screenings

Developmental screening can be done by a doctor or nurse, but also by other professionals in healthcare, community, or school settings. It is a regular part of “well-child visits” for all children even if there is not a known concern. 

During a developmental screening, your child will get a brief test or you will complete a questionnaire about your child. These tools are based on research about a child’s development, including language, movement, thinking, behavior, and emotions. 

What Services Might Your Child Receive?

If your child’s evaluation shows that they qualify for services, then your pediatrician will refer you to an early intervention service coordinator who will work with your family to develop a plan based on the individual needs of your child, known as an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP).

The IFSP will include important information such as:

  • Your child’s current levels of development
  • Developmental goals for your child, which you help to identify
  • What services your child and family will receive—such as home visits from a special educator, speech–language therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy
  • When and how frequently your child will receive each service
  • Where your child will receive these services. Services are often provided in your child’s “natural environment”—such as your home or your child’s care setting

The cost of developmental screening and many early intervention services are covered by Medi-Cal or private insurance. Your early intervention service coordinator will be able to explain what is covered based on your child’s IFSP. No matter what, your child will not be denied services if you cannot afford to pay for them. 

Early developmental delays do not necessarily mean a child will always require special education or other supports long term. In many cases, early intervention can help correct delays before they become limiting for children long-term. Don’t just “wait and see.” The earlier concerns are addressed, the better! 

 

Resources for Parents

Tracking Healthy Development

Talking with your Child’s Doctor 

LA County Early Intervention Resources

  • Regional Centers: Regional Centers provide and coordinate services and supports for individuals with developmental disabilities. Use this mapping tool to locate a Regional Center near you for information on an evaluation and services.
  • Family Resource Centers: Early Start Family Resource Centers (ESFRCS) provide parent-to-parent support, outreach, information and referral services to families of children with disabilities. 

Other Resources


Childcare Providers’ VERY IMPORTANT Role in Early Intervention

Child Care Providers’ VERY IMPORTANT Role in Early Intervention

 

As an early learning and care provider, you know that all children develop a different rates, but did you know that 1 in 6 children will face a developmental delay? 

It is important to act early if there are signs of a potential development delay because early treatment is extremely important. Unfortunately, most children with developmental delays are not identified early enough to benefit from early intervention, which can make a big difference in a child’s development and ability to learn new skills.

You are in a perfect position to see and track how all children in your care play, learn, speak, act and move alongside others of their age. If you use these CDC checklists to monitor the development of each child in your care, you can identify children who might need services and help their families get it for them as early as possible. You will also be able to reassure families when their children’s development is on track. However, it is never your role to make or suggest a diagnosis for any child.

Your role is to:

  1. Look for and note each child’s developmental milestones
  2. Share what you’ve seen with families
  3. Encourage families to talk to their child’s doctor if you or they have a concern

 

Talking with Families About Their Child’s Developmental 

One of the best things you can do is talk with families regularly about their child’s development – not only at times of concern — and provide them with resources so they can track milestones at home. Because acting early can make such a difference, sharing milestones with families and pointing out areas of concern can also help them recognize potential developmental delays.

If you have specific concerns, clear open communication and your support can help to reassure families to take action in support of their children. When talking with families, choose the right time and place, where you can talk alone and the families have enough time to talk. Be prepared for strong emotions. 

You should also be aware of your employer’s policies regarding conversations with families and be aware of your center’s referral procedures and community contacts, so that you are prepared with that information if you need to give it to families. Let your supervisor know you plan to have this conversation with a family and consider asking them to join you for the conversation.

Above all: Be caring, supportive, and respectful.

Here are additional steps to consider:

    • Remember your active listening skills 
    • Pay attention to tone of voice and body language
    • Be mindful of cultural differences
    • Highlight the child’s strengths
    • Be prepared for the conversation – fact-based notes from your observations and assessments can be helpful
    • Encourage families to share concerns with their child’s doctor and seek referrals to additional services if required
    • Follow up with the family to offer ongoing support and monitoring of the child’s progress

Additional Resources

For More Information on How to Talk to Families About Developmental Delays

Resources to Use with Families

 

LA County Early Intervention Resources

  • Regional Centers: Regional Centers provide and coordinate services and supports for individuals with developmental disabilities. Use this mapping tool to locate a Regional Center near you for information on an evaluation and services.
  • Family Resource Centers: Early Start Family Resource Centers (ESFRCS) provide parent-to-parent support, outreach, information and referral services to families of children with disabilities.

Spot Quality!

Spot Quality!

Choosing child care can be tricky, but identifying elements of a high quality program doesn’t have to be. Regardless of the care setting, quality child care means that a program is a safe, healthy, caring, and educational place for young children to learn and grow. It supports all areas of a child’s development and wellbeing.

Play our interactive memory game to test your skills and learn the hallmarks of quality to look for when choosing a child care program.

When evaluating a child care program, look for these signs of quality

 

Teacher-Child Interactions
Educators talk, play, read, laugh, and interact positively to help develop children’s critical thinking skills, language, and curiosity.

Ratio and Group Size
Small group sizes and a small number of kids to every adult.

Learning Activities
A variety of creative, fun, and developmentally appropriate educational activities that are right for a child’s age, meet children’s individual needs, and help them learn new skills and information.

Staff
Caring and knowledgeable staff who have a lot of training and enjoy what they do. Providers have taken classes or earned degrees in Early Childhood Education.

Environment
A rich learning environment with varied materials, activities and routines. Areas are healthy, clean and safe.

Program (or Curriculum)
Providers have a schedule activities to meet learning each child’s learning needs and may hold parent-teacher conferences.

Parent/Family Involvement
The child care program encourages family participation, allows parents to visit, keeps parents informed their child’s day in child care, and may hold parent-teacher conferences.

Child Health & Development
Providers make sure children receive health screenings and that children are developing on track.

Find a QSLA Rated Program


QSLA Overview Infographic – Spanish

La Calidad de Aprendizaje Temprano

La calidad de aprendizaje temprano hace una diferencia en la vida de los niños y las familias.

Quality Start LA es parte de un movimiento estatal y nacional para mejorar la calidad de los programas de aprendizaje temprano para que más niños se beneficien. Así es como trabajamos:


QSLA Overview Infographic – English

Early Learning Quality

Early learning quality makes a difference in the life of children and families.

Quality Start LA is part of a state and national movement to raise the quality of early learning programs and care so that more children benefit. Here is how we work:


Read from the Start – Current Month

 

Read from the Start

 

Read from the Start – Quality Start LA has teamed up with the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) System, the LA County Library (LACL) System, and Sesame Street in Communities to bring you “Read from the Start.”

Each month, QSLA and your local library systems will work together to develop a themed booklist, reading tips, and family activities all designed for families with children ages birth to five. Click on the Read from the Start booklists below to download a PDF of the list.

February 2020: Black History Month

Monthly Activity: We are Different/We are the Same

Try one of these quick activities to help your child think about people who may be similar to or different from themselves.

1.  Ask your child to strike a superhero pose and share one special thing about him- or herself. Ask your child to share something special about a friend or family member.

2.  Have your child think about their friends or family members. Ask them to think of ways they are the same, and ways they are different. What color hair and eyes do they have? How many ears? Do they wear glasses? What is their favorite color? What do they like best about that person?

3.   Talk about families you know. Invite kids to draw and share a family picture. Share, “Not all families are the same. Some families have one parent, some have two, some may even have more. Sometimes there are brothers or sisters or grandparents.” Then talk about what’s true of all families-for instance, that they all love and want to take care of each other.

This activity is inspired by We are all Different, We are all the Same from Sesame Street in Communities.

Monthly Family Reading Tip: Ask Questions

Stop and ask questions while reading to your little one. Take time to listen to your child’s answers. When you encourage your child to tell you what he or she thinks, you’re building language skills, encouraging critical thinking and learning more about how your child sees the world at the same time.

Monthly Booklist: To print out and share!

Click on the images below to download our full booklists, or scroll to the bottom of the page to find every book at your local Los Angeles Public and LA County Library.

Check it out at your local library!

Find this month’s books at your local library. Did you know? Many of these books are also available for digital download.

Access more Booklists from our Read from the Start Archive

Looking for more great resources?

Browse Quality Start LA’s collection of booklistschild-friendly activities and holiday activities guides.


Quality Learning Moments

Quality Start LA Celebrates Quality Learning Moments

As your child’s first and most important teacher, you can help jump start their learning. Throughout everyday activities, there are things you can do to prepare your child for success. 

 

Young children who are ready to learn math and science are likely to do better in school.

 

Your child is fascinated by everything around them – new words and sounds.

 

How you react to their emotions can build their self-esteem and confidence.

 

Play is more than just fun. Children are developing skills they need to thrive.

 


Read from the Start

Read from the Start

Read from the Start – Quality Start LA has teamed up with the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) System and the LA County Library (LACL) System to bring you “Read from the Start.”

Each month, QSLA and your local library systems will work together to develop a themed booklist, reading tips, and family activities all designed for families with children ages birth to five. Click on the Read from the Start booklists below to download a PDF of the list.

January 2020

   

 

December 2019

November 2019

October 2019

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 2019

March 2019


February 2019

 

Looking for more great resources?

Browse Quality Start LA’s collection of booklistschild-friendly activities and holiday activities guides.