Developmental monitoring is partnering with families to follow and support children’s development. Physicians, family doctors, paediatricians, home visitors, nurses, and other healthcare providers in countries in the Europe and Central Asia Region engage in developmental monitoring during regular encounters with children and families. They inform families about nurturing care including early learning opportunities, identify children at risk of not developing to their full potential, provide strengths-based, individualized support, address risk factors, and provide seamless referrals for family-centred early intervention services when needed.
Developmental monitoring considers child, family and community factors that influence development. Healthcare providers conducting developmental monitoring talk to caregivers about the importance of early brain development and nurturing care and elicit parental concerns. They interview caregivers about the child’s functioning in domains such as expressive and receptive communication, gross and fine movement, relating, play and self-help, and learn about functional milestones that children reach at certain age ranges. Healthcare providers learn what parents are doing in their daily lives to support their child’s development and acknowledge and support family strengths. They identify health risks such as prematurity or psychosocial risks such as extreme stress or depression in caregivers. They provide individualized guidance on nurturing care and early learning opportunities in each child’s natural environment. Healthcare providers trained in developmental monitoring are able to seamlessly integrate additional recommendations for young children with developmental risks or delays. They help caregivers address psychosocial risk factors by emphasising strengths and resources in the child, family and the community. Healthcare providers also partner with families to find additional family-centred early intervention services.