“The minute you are concerned about your child’s development, you have the right to share this information and seek the support you and your child deserve.”

What You’ll Learn
  • What do I do if my child is not reaching certain developmental milestones?
  • What is a developmental screening?
  • How can I advocate for early support for my child?

I’ve been monitoring my child’s developmental milestones. I know that development is progressive and generally happens in the same order for most children. I also know that every child is unique and their development might happen at different ages or times, but I have some concerns for my child’s development. What do I do? Who do I ask for help? What if everyone says my child is fine, but I still have concerns?

If you’ve ever asked yourself similar questions as a parent or caregiver, you are not alone! Development is a process and it is okay to have questions along the way. Let’s answer some of these questions together.


Acting Early: Knowing When to Share Your Concerns

Developmental milestones are useful for tracking and monitoring your child’s development. If you begin to notice that your child is not reaching certain milestones or is showing signs of losing skills, it is best to seek advice from a trusted professional (e.g. your child’s educator or primary care physician). The minute you are concerned about your child’s development, you have the right to share this information and seek the support you and your child deserve—no wait time necessary.


Developmental Screening: What, How, Why?

Children require different experiences and interactions to develop and thrive—sometimes, children need additional support to meet their developmental milestones. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children be screened for development using a systematically-validated tool at 9, 18, and 30 months or whenever a parent/caregiver expresses a concern. This developmental screening tool may be a questionnaire or checklist that asks questions about your child’s development, including language, motor, cognitive, social, and emotional development. 

The process of screening does not lead to a diagnosis; it simply informs meaningful next steps to ensure your child receives the early intervention and support necessary to thrive. Children who are identified as needing additional support and begin receiving appropriate intervention demonstrate many gains in academic and life success.


Advocating for Yourself and Your Child

If you are concerned about your child’s development, it is okay to ask for help. All states are required by law to offer developmental screening services free of charge to families. You can ask your child’s primary care physician or educator to complete a developmental screening at any time. It is also okay to collect others’ opinions if your concerns persist. Remember you know your child best and your perspective and observations as a parent/caregiver are essential to this process. 

Here are some empowering strategies to use the next time you’d like to share a concern about your child’s development:

  • Monitor your child’s development and note recent examples of your child’s communication, social, and learning skills. 
  • Reflect and write down any questions or concerns you have about your child’s development.
  • Answer the question: Who can offer you and your child support as you go through the screening process?
  • Answer the question: What do you hope to learn about your child’s development? 
  • Identify how you take in and use information to inform your decisions. 
  • Review your questions and make sure they have all been answered. If any more come to mind, you can always contact that same professional or another.



Free ASQ Screening. The Ages and Stages Questionnaires are reliable, valid, and available for parents to complete. You can complete this free ASQ questionnaire as a tool to track your child’s developmental progress and share it with your child’s primary care physician. 

CLAY. This organization offers valuable insight into your child’s behavior and development with an in-depth questionnaire, detailed reports, and actionable next steps.

Early Intervention. If you are interested in a formal evaluation to determine whether your child has a developmental delay or disability, here is a list of early intervention contact information by state. These programs are publicly funded and provide services to families for free or at a reduced cost. A doctor’s referral is not necessary to schedule an evaluation. (More on early intervention to come soon in another SolBe blog post!)


Empowering Takeaways

  • It is okay to have questions or concerns about your child’s development. Support is available!
  • A developmental screening is not designed to diagnose; it is designed to offer insight into your child’s development and identify the next steps.
  • You don’t have to wait for a developmental screening to be suggested and can collect insight from multiple sources to inform your decision.


Be vibrant and keep thriving!

This article was last reviewed or updated on February 16, 2024.

About the author: Rebecca is the Director at SolBe Learning. Rebecca has worked in the field of early education for over six years, with a passion for supporting the optimal development of young children and families. Rebecca holds a B.A. in early childhood education and sociology as well as an M.A. and license in school counseling.



Ages & Stages Questionnaires. (2024). Why screening matters. https://agesandstages.com/about-asq/why-screening-matters/ 

American Academy of Pediatrics. (2019, May 3). The developmental screening process [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqcZolP7jHo 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023). CDC’s Developmental Milestones. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/milestones/index.html 

Dunkle, M. (2004). High-quality developmental screening. Developmental & Behavioral News, 13(2).

Pool, J. L. & Hourcade, J. J. (2011). Developmental screening: A review of contemporary practice. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 46(2), 267-275. 

Zubler, J. M., Wiggins, L. D., Macias, M. M., et al. (2022). Evidence-informed milestones for developmental surveillance tools. Pediatrics, 149(3). https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2021-052138