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Detecting children with developmental-behavioral problems: The value of collaborating with parents

Author(s): Frances Page Glascoe | Kevin P. Marks

Journal: Psychological Test and Assessment Modeling
ISSN 2190-0493

Volume: 53;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 258;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: developmental screening | developmental surveillance | parents’ concerns | child development | disabilities | behavioral screening

Half of all children with disabilities are not identified before school entrance. This precludes their participation in early intervention programs that have known value in reducing school drop out, criminality, increasing employment, and delaying child-rearing all of which accrue enormous costs to citizens. Although screening tests can greatly improve detection rates, these have not been popular in primary care due to test length, time constraints, and difficulty managing children’s behavior when hands-on measures are used. An alternative is to rely on parents’ concerns because these are not only accurate and efficient indicators of problems, but also because focusing on parents’ concerns makes visits relevant, engenders a much needed collaborative relationship in early detection, and increases the likelihood that parents will follow through with the recommendations of professionals. Nevertheless, careful attention must be paid to the wording of questions and use of parents’ concerns. Early detection is most effective when evidence-based decision-making guides professionals’ decisions. This review focuses on the use of parents’ concerns, meaning in their own words, to accurately detect and address developmental-behavioral (including social-emotional/mental health) problems. Suggestions for future research are described throughout.
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