Developmental Screenings for Children are Important

If you are a parent or guardian of a child, you know the importance of regular doctor visits. In addition to the standard components of a visit, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that pediatricians talk with families about their child’s development at every well-child visit between birth and 3 years old, and conduct developmental screenings at 9, 18 and 30 months of age.

During the first three years of a child’s life, their brain undergoes a remarkable period of development, and these years are considered the most important in a child’s development. These years are an important time for developmental monitoring and screening.  According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), developmental monitoring observes how your child grows and changes over time and whether a child is meeting typical developmental milestones in playing, learning, speaking, behaving, and moving. A milestone checklist such as the one on MKSA’s website is a useful tool for this. All family members can participate in developmental monitoring. If you feel your child is not developing like other children of the same age, speak with your child’s pediatrician. At well-visits, doctors will do developmental monitoring and will ask you questions and will talk and play with your child. Childcare providers can also be a valuable source of information on your child’s development.

Developmental screening is a more in-depth look at your child’s development. Parents will complete a questionnaire about their child and your child may get a brief test. Screenings may be done by a doctor as well as other professionals in healthcare, early childhood education or school settings. Developmental screening is more formal and done less often than monitoring. Your child should be screened if you or your doctor have a concern, but developmental screening is a regular part of some well visits for all children. The AAP recommends developmental and behavioral screening for all children during well visits at the following ages:  9 months, 18 months, and 30 months. AAP also recommends that all children be screened specifically for autism spectrum disorder during well visits at 18 and 24 months. If your child is at a higher risk for developmental problems due to preterm birth, low birthweight, family history or other factors, your doctor may discuss additional screening.

Parents are sometimes hesitant about developmental screenings, believing that doctors are looking for problems. The opposite is often true. Parents—especially first-time parents—often have many questions about their child’s development. All aspects of a child’s development and life are considered, and doctors often reassure parents that behaviors and development are in fact typical. And if there is a concern, early help does make a difference.

If a developmental screening identifies an area of concern, a formal developmental evaluation may be suggested. An evaluation will identify and diagnose developmental delays and conditions and determine if a child is eligible for early intervention services. A developmental delay means a child has not reached age-appropriate milestones in one or more developmental areas. If the delay is significant enough to meet eligibility criteria, early intervention services are available at no out-of-pocket cost. To learn more about this, click here.

Many families have delayed well-child visits due to the pandemic, resulting in missed screenings. Schedules were altered, and ‘getting back to normal’ should include resuming regular checkups for children. Many milestones can only be measured by doctors in person. Parents can also discuss any concerns they may have about their child, and receive guidance, and resources if necessary. If well-visits were missed, now is the time to reconnect with your child’s doctor and discuss any concerns.

If you have any questions about your child’s development, MKSA is here to answer your questions. Please reach out by email at or call 516-731-5588.


Note: The information in this article is for informational purposes only. It is not an attempt to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Always consult your child’s pediatrician with any specific medical questions. MKSA is also available to answer questions about child development. Contact us at 516-731-5588 or


 Sources: Developmental Monitoring and Screening Developmental Screening

Top 6 Things to Know About Early Intervention

When a parent first learns their child is being evaluated for a developmental delay, it can be a confusing, emotionally-charged time. It may be the first time a parent learns that their child may have long-term special needs. Or it may mean that their child needs some extra help to ‘catch up’ to his/her peers. Whatever the definition, it also means they will be navigating unchartered waters replete with new information and new people entering their life and the life of their child. Below are answers to some of the most common questions about early intervention (EI) in New York State, taken from the NYS Department of Health’s Early Intervention Program’s A Parent’s Guide:

1. How much do early intervention services cost?
If your child is determined eligible for the Early Intervention program, services are provided at no cost to families. Health insurance (including private insurance and Medicaid) is used to pay for early intervention services in New York State. In New York, family insurance policies are protected from being affected by payments for EI services. Only if your insurance company is licensed or regulated by New York State would your policy be used. Use of your insurance is voluntary if your policy is not subject to New York State regulation. When your insurance is used, co-pays or deductibles do not apply, even if your insurance company is not licensed or regulated by New York State and you volunteer to use your insurance for service.

2. How is eligibility for early intervention services determined?
All children are entitled to a free multidisciplinary evaluation to determine eligibility. Children with a diagnosed condition (i.e. Down syndrome) will always be eligible for services, however an evaluation will still be necessary to help plan for particular services. If your child does not have a diagnosed condition, but has a developmental delays, the evaluation will determine if your child is eligible for services.

3. What kinds of services are available?
EI services can include:

Special instruction

Speech-language pathology

Occupational therapy

Physical therapy

Vision services

Social work, nutrition, nursing, and psychological services

Assistive technology services and devices


Family training/counseling/home visits/parent support groups

Medical services for diagnostic or evaluation purposes

Transportation to/from EI services

4. Where are services provided?
EI services can be provided in your home, your child care center or family day care home, early childhood programs and center, or at recreational centers, play groups, playgrounds, libraries, or other community places parents and children go for fun and support.

5. What is a Service Coordinator?
The Initial Service Coordinator is appointed to you by the Early Intervention Official (in NYS, an appointed public official who functions as the “single point of entry” for children into EI; all children under 3 who may need services are referred to the Early Intervention Official). He/she assists families through all the beginning steps along the way to having your child receive services. Once it is determined that your child is eligible for services, you will choose your Ongoing Service Coordinator, who coordinates all the services your child will receive.

6. What is an IFSP? Will my child need one?
An IFSP, or Individualized Family Service Plan is the written plan for the EI services your child and family will receive. All children that receive EI services have an IFSP. An IFSP includes the following:  people and organizations involved (service coordinator name, professionals who will provide services, organizations/people responsible for paying for services), child’s current level of functioning (including any medical conditions, results of vision and hearing tests, as well as cognitive assessments and information on your child’s communication abilities and social development), family information (concerns, strengths and needs of your family and child) and list of services (specific services, frequency, provider(s) and outcomes (relevant, specific and measurable goals for your child).

For more information about early intervention services and how MKSA can help you navigate the process, click here.