Health Services: Developmental Screenings (0 to 5)

Developmental Screenings (0 to 5), All Children:

Developmental screening examines how your child is developing, growing and whether your child meets the typical developmental milestones in playing, learning, speaking, behaving, and moving. Developmental screening are a regular part of some well-child pediatric visits for all children. Your child should be screened if you or your doctor have a concern.

A screening involves a brief test, or you will complete a list of questions about your child. The questions on a screening are based on research about a child’s development, including language, movement, thinking, behavior, and emotions. Developmental screening can be done by a doctor or nurse, but also by other professionals in healthcare, community, or school settings. In Palm Beach County, Home Safe, Help Me Grow through Treasure Coast 211 or BRIDGES can also conduct developmental screenings.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends developmental and behavioral screening for all children during regular well-child visits at these ages:

  • 9 months
  • 18 months
  • 24 or 30 months

One in four children from birth to age 5 are at risk for a developmental delay or disability. Often children with a developmental delay or behavioral concern are not identified as early as possible. As a result, these children must wait to get the help they need to do well in social and educational settings. Early identification allows communities to intervene earlier, leading to more effective and cheaper treatment during the preschool years.

Research shows that early intervention treatment services can often help a child catch up to his or her peers. Programs work with the families to determine the best approach based on the child’s needs. Therapies could include working to help a child talk more, gross and fine motor skills, learning and interacting with other peers.

Young children who are identified at risk for a delay may be referred to programs such as Early Steps a program of Easter Seals of Florida, Light Touch for Success a program through the Institute for Child and Family or First Steps to Success or Forward Leeps both run by the Arc of Palm Beach County. The Palm Beach County School District also offers help for young children; its Child Find program evaluates children ages 3 to 5.


Developmental Monitoring and Screening, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Children’s Services Council’s Everyparent Website

Written by: Jennifer​  Munoz, Community  Planning  and  Partnership  Officer Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County