Caregiver Experiences of Developmental Screening




Dorian E. Traube, Abigail Palmer Molina, Amanda Taylor, Allison Kemner, Lindsey Shah, and Angela Rau

Brief Type

Journal Publication



Background: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has called for a universal system of developmental screening and surveillance to enhance early detection and intervention for children. While the need and potential impact of universal screening is well documented, recent reports show that screening rates have not reached expected goals and gaps remain in terms of effective follow-up and referral to early intervention (EI) services. Few studies have explored parent and child experiences of developmental screening, which would aid researchers, practitioners and policymakers in improving early detection and referral to EI. The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand the experiences of caregivers and children who received developmental screening across different service sectors, including the type of screening received, location of screening, experiences during the screening process and the follow-up interventions received following screening. Methods: Individual interviews were conducted with 31 caregivers. A descriptive qualitative design allowed for the exploration of caregiver experiences with developmental screening. Thematic analysis was utilized to categorize caregiver reflections prior to, during and following developmental screening events. Results: Analysis revealed five themes that described caregivers' experiences with screening and assessment for their child: (1) parent's goals of screening; (2) screening preparation and support; (3) parent/child response to screening; (4) result reporting and follow-up; (5) overall satisfaction with screening process. Each theme was composed of several subthemes. Conclusions: Caregivers see the importance of developmental screening, caregivers and children respond well to screening delivered by various providers in multiple settings and caregivers find the information gleaned from screening events important in planning for their child's developmental trajectory. Key places where improvements can be made to further bolster parental engagement and satisfaction include screening preparation and follow-up. (author abstract)

Data Collection Methods

  • Interviews



For More Information

Traube, D. E., Palmer Molina, A., Taylor, A., Kemner, A., Shah, L., & Rau, A. (2020). Caregiver experiences of developmental screening. Child: Care, Health and Development, 47(3), 319-328. https://doi.org/10.1111/cch.12844
Author Contact Information:
Dorian Traube


  • Participant, Family, and Program Outcomes