Health professionals who see infants and children
screen for (watch for early signs of)
developmental disabilities at every routine checkup.
Developmental problems can affect how a child can talk, move, concentrate,
The doctor will use
developmental tests (questionnaires) and then review your child's
results. He or she will compare your child's abilities with the normal
milestones of children of the same age.
Your child will be
evaluated right away if the doctor discovers obvious signs of
developmental delays, such as:
No babbling, pointing, or other gestures by 12
Saying no single words by 16 months.
two-word spontaneous phrases by 24 months, with the exception of repeating
Any loss of language or
social skills at any age.
If there are no obvious signs of developmental delays or any
unusual results from the tests, most infants or children do not need
further evaluation until the next routine checkup.
have a sibling who has autism need continued monitoring. Along with the
normal check-ups at each routine checkup, these children need to be screened for language delays, poor social skills, and other problems that could be a sign of autism. Some children may need to see a
developmental pediatrician after the screening is done.
When socialization, learning, or behaviour problems develop in a person at
any time or at any age, he or she should be evaluated.
Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care (2016). Recommendations on screening for developmental delay. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 188(8): 579-587. DOI: 10.1503
/cmaj.151437. Accessed June 13, 2016.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerSusan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics Donald Sproule, MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerLouis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics