Early identification of young children at developmental risk is important for linkage to needed services. Yet, despite guidelines for developmental screening, many pediatricians do not systematically use screening tools. Because many young children spend time in childcare settings, conducting screening in these settings may improve rates of early identification. Surveys were sent to 356 childcare providers who attended brief developmental screening training to determine practices and perceptions related to implementation of screening in the childcare setting. A 51.7% useable response rate was obtained. A majority of respondents strongly agreed that developmental screening should be conducted in childcare centers, that it is important for staff to discuss developmental concerns with parents and to link children with concerns to resources, and that their center director supported use of the screening tool. Several attitudes both about developmental screening and about organizational support had a positive and significant relationship with current use and intended future use of developmental screening tools. Findings suggest that even brief staff training may positively impact screening attitudes and practices, although follow-up technical assistance may result in fuller, more effective implementation.
Department of Psychiatry, The University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School (Dr Shahidullah); Department of School Psychology, Rutgers University–New Brunswick, Piscataway, New Jersey (Dr Forman and Ms Chaudhuri); Autism Department (Ms Norton) and Department of Research Development (Dr Harris), Children's Specialized Hospital, Fanwood, New Jersey; and Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Special Education, Michigan State University, East Lansing (Mr Palejwala).
Correspondence: Jeffrey D. Shahidullah, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, The University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School, 1601 Trinity St, Stop Z0600, Health Discovery Bldg, 4.222.28, Austin, TX 78712 (Jeff.Shahidullah@austin.utexas.edu).
The authors thank Marilyn Lopez for assistance with Spanish translation services.
Conflicts of Interest: None declared.