Louisiana Developmental Screening Guidelines

The Louisiana Developmental Screening Guidelines (LDSG) are a set of recommendations focused on comprehensive screening for children in Louisiana. These recommendations were developed through a workgroup comprised of various public health and community agencies who are invested in Maternal-Child Health priorities. The recommendations expand screening beyond developmental milestones and autism, are aligned with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)/Bright Futures recommendations, and include screening for social-emotional problems, environmental risk, and parental depression.

LDSG Background Information

The guidelines were created to support pediatric and family medicine providers with tools to implement and build robust screening services at the practice level. The aim is to ensure that children who are ‘at risk’ will be promptly identified, referred for evaluation, and linked to early intervention therapies. Only parent-completed instruments were considered for the LDSG. Research confirms that parents are reliable sources of information about their children’s development. Utilizing an evidence-based screening tool that incorporates a parent report can help guide discussions between parents and providers about the child’s development and well-being. In addition, a parent report screener is more efficient and less burdensome for providers because it saves time in the practice setting.    

The LDSG recommended screening tools were selected based on:

  • the instrument's psychometric properties
  • the population used for its validation
  • tool literacy level
  • ease of administration
  • administration time
  • instrument cost 

What's included in the LDSG?

The Louisiana Developmental Screening Guidelines establishes an operationalized state definition for developmental screening, provides a short list of recommended screening tools across several domains, and proposes specific recurring intervals for when screenings should be performed at the practice level. A list of recommended tools carefully chosen by state content experts is included.

Screening Tools

Many quality screening instruments across multiple domains are available to providers. The Ages and Stages Questionnaire (abbreviated as ASQ-3 and ASQ-SE) each have a nominal fee. The remainder of the tools are public domain and available for free download. The tools in the recommended LDSG list may not meet the specific needs of every practice. Providers should utilize tools which best suit a clinic’s needs. Acceptable instruments are peer reviewed, valid, and reliable. Click here for an overview of each screening tool with references. 


The screening tools can be found on the following websites:

Additional Resources for Providers

For Louisiana providers serving children 0 – 5 years, the Bureau of Family Health provides free trainings, resource/referral materials, and technical assistance on developmental screening. Contact the Developmental Screening Coordinator for more information at 504-568-5055 or email CSHSprogram@la.gov. If you are interested in applying for our technical assistance program, please click here. 

Basic recommendations for screening and surveillance periodicity are available from Louisnana Medicaid and AAP/Bright futures:

Additional information on selecting screening instruments is available from the CDC and the US Department of Health and Human Services: 


Bright Futures/American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Recommendations for Preventive Pediatric Health Care

Bright Futures/American Academy of Pediatrics, 2017 Periodicity Schedule. https://www.aap.org/en-us/Documents/periodicity_schedule.pdf .

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Website. Developmental Monitoring and Screening for Health Professionals. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/childdevelopment/screening-hcp.html (updated January 2017).

Council on Children With Disabilities, Section on Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics, Bright Futures Steering Committee, Medical Home Initiatives for Children With Special Needs Project Advisory Committee. Policy Statement. Identifying infants and young children with developmental disorders in the medical home: An algorithm for developmental surveillance and screening [corrected] [published erratum appears in Pediatrics 2006 oct;118(4):1808-9]. Pediatrics. 2006;118(1):405-420.

Earls M F, and the Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health.  Clinical Report —Incorporating Recognition and Management of Perinatal and Postpartum Depression Into Pediatric Practice.  Pediatrics 2010:126(5).

Garner A, ShonkoffJ, Siegel B, et al. Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, Committee on Early Childhood, Adoption, and Dependent Care, and Section on Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. Policy Statement. Early childhood adversity, toxic stress, and the role of the pediatrician: Translating developmental science into lifelong health. Pediatrics. 2012;129(1):e224-e225-e231.

Johnson CP, Myers SM, and the Council on Children With Disabilities. Clinical Report. Identification and evaluation of children with autism spectrum disorders. Pediatrics. 2007;120(5):1183-1215.

Weitzman C, Wegner L., the Section on Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, Council on Early Childhood, and Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. Clinical Report. Promoting optimal development: Screening for behavioral and emotional problems. Pediatrics. 2015;135(2):381215.

US Department of Health and Human Services. Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive!  A Compendium of Screening Measures for Young Children.  March 2014.  https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/ecd/screening_compendium_march2014.pdf

VanLandeghem K, Sloyer P, Gabor V, et al. Standards for systems of care for children and youth with special health care needs. March 2014. Association of Maternal and Child Health Association and the Lucile Packard Foundation.