early screening matters!

A meaningful standardized measure of child development remains elusive. But we have a plan to build a stronger network of support that puts children at the center.

Connecting all children to the services they need

Academic data is important, but it does not tell the whole story of a child’s readiness for kindergarten. Recent studies suggest that 1 in 4 children ages 0-5 are at-risk for a developmental delay, but children in poverty have a two-fold higher prevalence than those who are privately insured.

Even worse, only 23% of pediatricians in a recent national survey reported using a standardized screening tool, despite the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations to screen babies and toddlers at 9 months, 18 months and 30 months.

The Early Screening Matters Escambia! team uses statistics like these to identify our community’s challenges with both early identification of developmental concerns and consistent access to supports and services. Beginning at birth, we need to identify more children with unidentified needs such as speech and language impairments before they enter kindergarten.

How will we do this? Our Early Screening Matters work group has a four-part strategy to make sure no child starts kindergarten unable to reach their full potential. All children should have access to the supports they need to succeed, beginning on day one.

Better Together Goals - Children-centered: Parents, families and communities + Pediatricians and health providers + Early childhood centers, programs and services


Books, Balls and Blocks event pop-ups reach more children and families, raising the profile of our work.

By training more stakeholders, we make early screening a routine part of all pediatric checkups.

Early signs of learning and attention issues often go unnoticed. We aim to make clear that evaluations should never be delayed.

Improve communications through awareness and marketing of why early screening matters to kindergarten readiness, third grade reading, and success in life.

Center for the Developing Child, Harvard University