Developmental screening is performed to identify possible delays or problems that may occur during the child’s development. It is done through a brief test or answering a questionnaire as an overall assessment of the child. Doctors and other health professionals usually conduct this.

This screening can detect early developmental or behavioral problems in children. Among the problems detected are, speech/language problems, autism, learning disabilities, hearing impairment, vision impairment, intellectual disabilities, and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). 

One of the advantages of developmental screening is early intervention. Usually, 50% of the mentioned behavioral and developmental problems are identified during screening. The population diagnosed at an early stage has higher chances to graduate, hold a good job, and function as a normal citizen.


Many developmental screening tools can be used to assess the different areas of a child’s development. Below are some of the commonly used tools.

  • Denver Developmental Screening Test

This screening is purposely done to confirm and identify the suspected developmental problems of a child and can be used to monitor children who are at risk for this.

It is applicable for children from 0-6 months of age. The time frame for this type of screening is 10-20 minutes. It can be administered by trained paraprofessionals and professionals who are fit to execute the test.

  • Developmental Indicators for the Assessment of Learning: Third Edition (DIAL-3) & Speed DIAL

It is a type of developmental screening that tests the five early childhood areas, such as language, motor concepts, social development, and self-help. This screening includes a 9-item rating scale of the child’s social-emotional behavior as well as intellectual. Also, Speed Dial and Dial-3 are included as brief screen tests. 

This test may be administered for children from 0 -11 months old. The approximate type of administration is 20-30 minutes, with an additional 15-20 minutes for Speed Dial administration. It may be used for preschool teachers, early childhood specialists, child developmental centers, and head start programs. 

Meanwhile, Speed Dial is useful for quick assessments in pediatric clinics, health fairs, and classrooms. 

  • Early Screening Inventory-Revised (ESI-R)

This screening makes use of a brief tool that identifies the children that possibly need special education. It consists of performance-based items in language, cognitive, adaptive, and visual-motor development. Generally, the test enables the professionals to address the possible learning blocks, including developmental delays and lack of school preparedness. 

It may be administered by a school psychologist, preschool teacher, or allied health professionals. Parents should be around during the screening to answer a Parent Questionnaire as supplementary information of the test. The approximate time of administration is 15-20 minutes. This is applicable for children ages 3-6 years. 

Developmental screening is essential for the early detection of problems among children. Early diagnoses lead to early intervention, which is very helpful for the development of diagnosed children.

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