Early Child Development and Screening

About The Author

I am a Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician. I see children of all ages for developmental, learning, or behavioral concerns. I provide evaluations and make recommendations for these children and their parents.
Angelica Robles, MD
Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician

Dr. Robles is a board certified Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician. She specializes in ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Developmental Delays/Differences. 

The need for Developmental-Behavioral Pediatricians is significant. There is only one specialist in this field for every 20,000 children in need. 

Dr. Robles is actively attempting to close this gap by creating educational content for primary care providers so they can learn more about child development and behavior so that ALL children have a chance to thrive. 

Outside of her professional life, she enjoys spending time with her family including two young boys.

Early Child Development and Screening

As part of your child’s well child visits with their primary care provider, they check on your child’s developmental milestones. Many providers ask you to fill out questionnaires that are specific to your child’s age. These questionnaires help determine if your child may have delays in cognitive, language, fine motor, gross motor, and social-emotional skills. 

If there are concerns noted, the provider will then ask you more questions so they can decide what to do next. The provider may decide to refer your child for further evaluation with a Developmental Pediatrician or a Child Psychologist. They may also decide to refer your child to speech, occupational, and/or physical therapies as needed.

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What can parents do if they have concerns about their child’s development?

Parents have great intuition! If you have any concerns, bring it up to your primary care provider during your child’s well child visit. This is a good way to get the referral process started for further evaluations and therapies. You can also search for a Developmental Pediatrician, Child Psychologist, or therapist and ask your primary care provider to place a referral if needed.

Another way to get this process started is to connect with Early Intervention services for children 0 to 3 years old or Special Education services for children 3 years old and up. These are great resources that are available to all families in every state. 

As a parent, you can directly contact the Early Intervention agency or school system that services your area and request an evaluation. Evaluations are done by a team of professionals including a psychologist, speech and language pathologist, occupational therapist, and physical therapist if needed. After the team assesses your child, they go over the findings with you and determine what services and therapies your child is eligible for. They can then get you connected with these services. There are parent centers that can also help guide you along the way.

Here is more information about these programs: 

Lastly, go with your gut. It’s ok to get a second opinion. If you feel like anyone on your care team isn’t listening or capturing your child’s needs, try connecting with another professional. You are the expert on your child and their best advocate!

What can I do at home if my child has delays?

Let me assure you that you are likely already doing many things every day that help your child’s development. Children learn the most through everyday experiences. They learn when you talk to them, when you read together, and when you play together. 

Play is a fun and easy way for child to pick up on skills. Keep it simple. Just 15-20 minutes a day of child-led play can make a big difference. When your child tries to do new things or is developing skills, let them work through some mistakes. If they are working on speech, let them try to request an item before you give it to them. Build on what they tell you, so they hear how the words flow together. If they don’t respond at times, that’s ok, they are still taking it in. Keep trying. 

Just remember at the end of the day that being in a loving and supportive home is the best start to a child’s development.

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Want to learn more? Need a consultancy? Join my private Facebook group and social media pages!

Angelica Robles, MD

Developmental Pediatrician

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