One of the most important goals of pediatric checkups, especially in the first two or three years, is monitoring  child development.  Recognition of the attainment of developmental milestones at the proper age is vital both for recognizing delays that might prompt a search for a specific diagnostic reason, and for initiating  early intervention that can make a huge difference in long-term optimal accomplishment and success.  Over the years, pediatricians and their staff have gone from making broad observational developmental assessment, to carefully carrying out  increasingly detailed screening and surveillance, with various tools providing  earlier, more sensitive recognition of delay. 

Not surprisingly, the internet is offering increasing assistance, and now a new phone app from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) is bringing a valuable new—and free—tool for parents and pediatric professionals, “Learn theSigns, Act Early.”  Available for download from GooglePlay and the AppStore from  cdc.gov/ActEarly, this multi-faceted site offers milestone checklists featuring  interactive milestone guidelines  for children aged 2 months to 5 years. There are photos and videos to help parents understand and evaluate their children’s attainment of these. Parents can score "yes," "not yet," or "not sure" to each milestone. There are also tabs for “When to Act Early,” recommended “Tips and Activities,” and a Milestone Summary page, as well as free materials such as books and charts.

This excellent resource can be really valuable to parents, and will enable them to assemble developmental data to bring to their children’s checkups, making their pediatricians’ own assessment more detailed and accurate.