Many young chil­dren are not screened for devel­op­men­tal de­lays

The Borneo Post - Nature and health - - Front Page - JAMA Pae­di­atrics.

are sup­posed to screen young chil­dren to see if they’re learn­ing ba­sic skills. But only 17 per cent of kids get this crit­i­cal test­ing in some places in the United States, a new study finds. Over­all, fewer than one-third of US chil­dren un­der three years old re­ceive rec­om­mended screen­ing for devel­op­men­tal prob­lems, said re­searchers at John Hop­kins Univer­sity in Baltimore. And they found sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences be­tween states, with Ore­gon at the top and Mis­sis­sippi at the bot­tom. “Even in the best states, only about half of chil­dren are re­ceiv­ing screen­ing and sur­veil­lance. We still have a long way to go,” said study co-au­thor Christina Bethell. She di­rects the Child and Ado­les­cent Health Mea­sure­ment Ini­tia­tive at Hop­kins’ Bloomberg School of Pub­lic Health. The Amer­i­can Academy of Pae­di­atrics rec­om­mends screen­ing to iden­tify devel­op­men­tal de­lays in ar­eas such as small mo­tor skills (“can she hold a crayon?”) and large mo­tor skills (“is he walk­ing?”). So­cial and be­havioural skills, such as talk­ing, should also be as­sessed at an early age. For the study, the re­searchers an­a­lysed 2016 data and found that only 30 per cent of chil­dren ages nine months to 35 months had re­ceived a devel­op­men­tal screen­ing in the past year. And only 37 per cent had re­ceived devel­op­men­tal sur­veil­lance. Fewer than one in five had re­ceived both screen­ing and sur­veil­lance, while just over half had re­ceived nei­ther, the re­searchers said. Screen­ing was de­fined as ask­ing a par­ent to com­plete a ques­tion­naire about devel­op­men­tal ob­ser­va­tions or con­cerns. Sur­veil­lance was de­fined as ask- ing par­ents about devel­op­men­tal con­cerns. State dif­fer­ences in rates of screen­ing and sur­veil­lance were as high as 40 or more per­cent­age points. For ex­am­ple, screen­ing rates were 59 per cent in Ore­gon and 17 per cent in Mis­sis­sippi. Sur­veil­lance rates were 61 per cent in Ore­gon and 19 per cent in Mis­sis­sippi. Iden­ti­fy­ing devel­op­men­tal de­lays at an early age is cru­cial in pro­vid­ing help be­fore school age, when such prob­lems can af­fect learn­ing and grades and have life­long con­se­quences, ac­cord­ing to Bethell. “We need to cre­ate com­pre­hen­sive sys­tems to op­ti­mise early child de­vel­op­ment in the first 1,000 days of life, which we know is dra­mat­i­cally im­por­tant for child and pop­u­la­tion health,” Bethell said in a school news re­lease. The study was pub­lished on­line in the jour­nal

*All ma­te­ri­als are only for your in­for­ma­tion, and should not be con­strued as med­i­cal ad­vice. Where nec­es­sary, ap­pro­pri­ate pro­fes­sion­als should be con­sulted

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