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Developmental Screening Toolkit


The toolkit will help your practice implement the Louisiana Developmental Screening Guidelines (LDSG) and integrate developmental screening services into your day-to-day practice. It contains step-by-step information contained in webpages, instructional videos, and downloadable worksheets. It is designed to house all of the information and tools you will need to put the Louisiana Developmental Screening Guidelines into practice in one, convenient spot.

We invite you to work through the entire toolkit, from start to finish, or to use only the parts that are most relevant and accessible to your practice. Some practices may already be doing some developmental screening, while others may be starting from scratch. Either way, this toolkit can help staff think through what they are currently doing and identify areas of improvement. It allows practices to tailor screening services based on their individual goals, capacity, and time.  

The toolkit uses a quality improvement (QI) framework, which allows practitioners to systematically improve the way health care is delivered to patients. It refers to the process of planning and testing changes on a small scale, with the goal of implementing them across the entire practice. The information and QI framework for this toolkit is based on clinical practice guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), other national toolkits, and lessons learned from the field. It is designed to help practices improve efficiency, patient safety, and clinical outcomes. It can be used as an American Board of Pediatrics MOC-4 project for providers who are leading the QI efforts. 

The LDSG are outlined in the sections below. The results of these developmental screens allow for early identification of developmental delays and provide the best possible outcomes by getting children into early intervention services as early as possible. For a quick overview of developmental screening and background information on the Louisiana Developmental Screening Guidelines and Developmental Screening Initiative, check out our Provider Page.

Louisiana Developmental Screening Guidelines


The Louisiana Developmental Screening Guidelines (LDSG) include the recommended periodicity and screening instruments listed below. Other screening instruments may be used, so long as they are parent-reported tools with fidelity, that have been validated in samples similar to Louisiana. These recommendations are intended to be the minimum amount of screening conducted. If risk factors for any given concern are present, or if a parent expresses a concern, we endorse screening beyond what is outlined in the guidelines. Regardless of periodicity, referrals should be made to ensure children and families receive evaluation or intervention services for any concern that arises throughout the developmental screening process.

Clinics that adhere to the LDSG are also meeting the recommendations of the AAP and Medicaid. All Medicaid-insured children under age 21 have coverage under the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) benefit. The EPSDT benefit is comprehensive in nature and provides coverage of preventive and developmental services, including routine physical health, mental health and developmental screening as well as evaluation and treatment for illnesses, conditions or disabilities. Broadly, states are required to cover all “…coverable, appropriate, and medically necessary services needed to correct and ameliorate health conditions, based on certain federal guidelines.” This means children covered by Louisiana Medicaid are entitled to coverage of all AAP-recommended screening services, as well as medically necessary and Medicaid-coverable services that result from the screens.


Recommended Developmental Screening Periodicity

The table below outlines recommended screening periodicity (timing and frequency) for each domain, based on a child's age in months.

  • The dark orange boxes indicate the ages when screening is recommended by the AAP. AAP periodicity recommends screening in three domains: general development, autism, and perinatal depression. Louisiana Medicaid now reimburses for these screens. For more information on Medicaid's reimbursement procedures, view their bulletin and fee schedule.
  • The light orange boxes outline screening guidance recommended by the Developmental Screening Initiative for two additional domains: social-emotional development and barriers to health. These domains are recommended as supplements to the AAP and Medicaid's recommendations in order to meet the specific needs of Louisiana’s children and families.

Clinics performing developmental screening at the recommended ages across all of these domains (both dark and light orange boxes) are adhering the Louisiana Developmental Screening Guidelines. 

Recommended Developmental Screening Instruments

Below are the instruments we recommend using when doing developmental screening. For some domains, we only recommend a single instrument, whereas we endorse multiple options for others. You will learn more about these tools in Step 2: Train the Team.

General Dev autism Perinatal Depression Social Emotional Barriers to Health DS Instrument

Toolkit Steps





The toolkit contains a series of webpages, training videos, and worksheets to help practices tailor screening services based on their individual goals, capacity, and time. It walks users through 3 major steps and offers a section with relevant resources to refer back to as you implement developmental screening. You can print out all of the worksheets ahead of time using this linkUse the toolbar at the top of each page to navigate between steps and trainings.


Step 1: Assess Capacity & Create a Plan
Assess what your clinic is currently doing in relation to developmental screening. Identify a team to lead and guide your efforts. Use the Capacity Checklist and Project Planning Worksheet to determine what new services or changes your practice would like to implement. 


Step 2: Train the Team
This step has two parts - the first part will get you familiar with the screening tools, and the second part covers the conversations with patients/families that go along with developmental screening. Part 1 includes training videos and resources to learn how to screen for each domain. Part 2, Conversations with Families and Making Referrals, will walk you through how to talk with families about developmental screening, its importance, and the role they play in it at regular visits. You will also learn how to navigate conversations with caregivers and families when a screen indicates risk and additional evaluation is needed. 


Step 3: Implement your Plan
This toolkit uses the Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) method of quality improvement to implement your changes. The worksheet we provide will walk you through the steps and provide an example of how to do a PDSA. 


Additional Resources
Dive deeper into the world of developmental screening, quality improvement, motivational interviewing, and more. We have resources for you and your patients!


  Our developmental screening expert is available to assist you with any and all steps! Our team can provide information and customized training on how your specific practice can implement developmental screening. Check out our Implementation Training and Support page to learn more about these offerings and to view our contact information.