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Developmental Monitoring.jpg

All children learn and grow at a different rate. Some may need more time for exploratory play, guidance or repetition of certain skills in order to master them. Research-based developmental monitoring and screening tools can offer families and early childhood professionals reassurance that a child’s development is on track – or, more critically, help signal that a child might need additional evaluation and support.

What is developmental monitoring?

Developmental monitoring is observing how a child grows and whether the child meets typical developmental milestones in playing, learning, speaking, behaving and moving. Monitoring by parents and early childhood professionals is a great way to ensure that all children get access to support as soon as possible. Consistent developmental monitoring can reveal when a child is not reaching milestones or reaching them much later than children the same age. This can be the earliest indication that a child may have a developmental delay.

Why use developmental monitoring?

  • To help you celebrate children's development
  • To help facilitate conversations about a child's progress
  • To help you learn what to expect next and identify concerns early on

Dual language learners

Children who are dual language learners may initially learn a concept – “over” and “under,” for example – in one of their languages but not yet know the words for it in the other language. Varying levels of exposure to their two languages can play a role – for example, the child may make big advancements in one language when a family member comes to visit, then see a sharp decrease in progress when they leave.

For children whose primary language is not English or Spanish, it is nearly impossible to find valid and reliable screening tools. Programs need to develop alternative plans for screening children who speak other languages. This includes working with interpreters, communicating with families, and reflecting on screening results with caution.

Download the developmental milestone chart