Health Care for ECD
Monitoring-child-development

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Early Child Development is a period of great risks and opportunities. During the first years of life child development is very intensive, dynamic, and complex, influenced by the interplay of a wide array of biological and environmental factors. Most children follow a typical trajectory of development across the domains of physical, social-emotional, and cognitive development. However, some children may be at risk of not developing to their full potential due to lack of nurturing care, health-related or biological conditions.  

Health systems have the greatest potential to identify children at risk of developmental difficulties and support early childhood intervention. Health practitioners can ensure timely identification of developmental difficulties and provide quality support to enhance development by adopting a systematic, holistic, and comprehensive approach to developmental monitoring. This approach should include integrating child development into the agenda of routine healthcare visits, offering counseling and support to caregivers for understanding and supporting child development in everyday activities, and considering the risk factors related to the child, family, and community. 

In many countries, healthcare providers use standardized, validated, culturally and clinically appropriate tools that are theory-based to monitor development, facilitate conversation with caregivers about child development and elicit parental concerns, and identify delays and the need for extra support.  

Effective, universal developmental monitoring requires tools, dedicated time as part of the routine health care encounters and health professionals with strong competencies to identify developmental difficulties and engage with caregivers in a family-centred and strength-based manner on child developmental issues.   

This webinar aims to introduce the participants to developmental monitoring as part of routine health care services for children. It will explore: 

  • The key concepts, definitions and principles of developmental monitoring, approaches to its implementation and key considerations related to human resources, work processes, selection of tools and the role that health systems play in the process. 

  • How developmental monitoring is organised in some countries:  

  • Scotland: use of Ages and Stages Questionnaires (ASQ) as part of health visiting for young children and families. 

  • Portugal: use of Mary Sheridan’s based milestones as a part of routine developmental monitoring and as a part of health information system 

  • Azerbaijan: use of Guide for Monitoring Child Development (GMCD), adaptation and integration in the primary health care 

  • Slovakia: use of an online platform with developmental milestones for parents and professionals 

This webinar is organised by UNICEF Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia (ECARO), WHO Regional Office for Europe (WHO/Europe), and the International Step by Step Association (ISSA) under the auspices of the Health Systems for Early Childhood Development initiative.  

The webinar was presented in English with simultaneous interpretation in Albanian, Bosnian-Croatian-Montenegrin-Serbian (BCMS), Hungarian, Russian, and Ukrainian.

The webinar concept note is available in: 

You may find the webinar presentation slides below: