Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

EARLY IDENTIFICATION OF DEVELOPMENTAL CONCERNS IN YOUNG CHILDREN: Developmental Health Promotion Takes into Consideration the Current Developmental Reality of the Child, as Well as the Developmental Expectations for the Next Months and the Developmental Potential for Growth over Time

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

EARLY IDENTIFICATION OF DEVELOPMENTAL CONCERNS IN YOUNG CHILDREN: Developmental Health Promotion Takes into Consideration the Current Developmental Reality of the Child, as Well as the Developmental Expectations for the Next Months and the Developmental Potential for Growth over Time

Article excerpt

Developmental disabilities are a group of conditions due to an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas. About one in six children in the U.S. have one or more developmental disabilities or other developmental delays. Also, 1 in 59 of eight-year-old children were identified with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in 2014, compared to 1 in 68 children in 2012.

The autism rate in New Jersey continues to skyrocket, and once again leads the nation with the highest percentage of children with ASD. In New Jersey, it is 1 in 34 in 2014, compared to 1 in 41 children in 2012, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network. That represents a 19-percent increase from two years ago when the report was last released. Access the snapshot of key findings of the ADDM Network at www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/addm-community-report/documents/key-findings-addm-community-report-2018-h.pdf.

Of great concern is that many children with developmental delays or disabilities are not identified until after they enter school, by which time they may have already experienced significant delays socially and/or academically and missed key opportunities for early intervention and supports. This is particularly true for children of color, immigrant children, and children in families with limited English proficiency, who are underrepresented in preschool special education but overrepresented in school-age special education. This is in part because, by not being identified early, they miss out on early intervention and preschool services that could reduce or eliminate the need for special education as children and youth. Early childhood is a critical period that can set the stage for one's health trajectory and positive future outcomes. Research and science have also demonstrated that what happens to children, both positive and negative, in their early years can have lasting effects. Therefore, it is important to ensure that young children have good physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development through developmental health promotion activities.

WHAT IS DEVELOPMENTAL HEALTH PROMOTION?

Developmental Health Promotion takes into consideration the current developmental reality of the child, as well as the developmental expectations for the next months and the developmental potential for growth over time. It consists of activities to promote awareness of the importance of and need for tracking and celebrating developmental milestones in young children and following up immediately when concerns are noted. Developmental Health Promotion helps children and families achieve better outcomes by supporting parents to address delays promptly and connecting them to the resources they need. Developmental Surveillance or Monitoring and Developmental Screening of children are integral components of Developmental Health Promotion.

DEVELOPMENTAL MONITORING

Developmental Monitoring means paying attention to how your child plays, learns, speaks, acts, and moves, all of which denote a child's physical, cognitive, communicative, social, and emotional well-being. It is an on-going process that begins at birth and can be done by parents, teachers, and health and early childhood professionals. Comprehensive child development surveillance or monitoring may include:

* Eliciting and attending to the parents' concerns

* Maintaining a developmental history of the child

* Making accurate and informed observations of the child

* Identifying the presence of risk and protective factors

* Periodically using screening tools

* Documenting the process and findings

* Connecting parents to necessary supports and services

CDCS "LEARN THE SIGNS. ACT EARLY." PROGRAM

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention's "Learn the Signs. …

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