Every time you bring your child to a well visit, your child has the opportunity to receive a developmental screening. Whether or not you have any concerns about your child’s development, be sure to ask if your child is being screened. If you are concerned about your child’s development, share those concerns with your child’s doctor.
Here are some tips on sharing concerns about a child’s development.
1. Be Prepared. Make notes about what expected milestones from the milestone checklist you feel your child is not meeting. Be specific, and give examples that may help your doctor understand your concerns.
2. Express Your Concerns Clearly and Be Persistent. Your child’s healthy development is important to you. Though these concerns can be emotional, be clear and concise about what is concerning you. Focus on specific milestones and examples. Make sure you receive clear answers from your doctor and do not accept “don’t worry” or “let’s wait and see” as appropriate answers to your questions or concerns. If you still feel your questions are not answered, ask for a referral to a see a pediatrician who specializes in development or behavior.
3. Ask Questions. Be sure you understand all the terminology that your doctor uses, if you don’t, ask for clarification. After screenings are conducted, ask about the results, what they mean, and for referrals to specialists, if necessary. Ask how to move forward from here.
4. Follow Up. Follow up screenings are important for all children, whether there are developmental concerns or not. Continue to ask for screenings at 9, 18, 24, and 30 months, and every year after that. If you find out from a screening that your child may be at risk for a developmental delay, follow up assessment through early intervention programs such as CDW and Child Find and follow up referrals are crucial. Ask your doctor to refer you to Early Intervention programs in the event of a high risk screen. In the event of moderate risk results, ask your doctor to refer you to the 2-1-1/Help Me Grow call center for referral to services such as audiology or speech.
For more information about how to talk to your doctor about developmental concerns for your child, visit First Signs.