Date of Award


Document Type

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



Committee Chair

Marlena S. Primeau

Committee Member

Javier Rodriguez


Children with disabilities--Identification, Child development deviations--Diagnosis, Developmental disabilities--Diagnosis


Developmental delays are commonly identified in roughly 12% of children in the United States. While the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recommended “standardized developmental screening tests” to be given at the 9, 18, and 30 (or 24 month) well child visits since 2006, its use is not widely practiced. This delay in identification of developmental delays decreases the likelihood that children will be enrolled in early intervention services, which worsens outcomes in cognitive, social, and emotional functioning, and leads to higher future healthcare costs. A gap analysis of a San Diego, California community health clinic highlighted the lack of standardized developmental screenings at well child visits as recommended by the AAP. The purpose of this evidence based scholarly project is to increase provider adherence to meet the AAP’s recommendation for developmental screenings, and to improve early intervention referral rates for children identified with developmental delays. Utilizing Lewin’s Theory of Planned Change as the conceptual framework, the study plans to utilize a San Diego community health clinic to recruit parents of children presenting for the 9, 12, 15, 18 or 24 month well child visits and implement developmental screenings using the Parents’ Evaluation of Developmental Status (PEDS) standardized screening tool. Participating providers will grade the screenings and refer patients for early intervention services as needed. Based on a review of the literature, it is expected that this project will increase identification of developmental delays, improve early intervention rates, and lead to organization-wide dissemination of the new developmental screening protocol.



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