Background: There is increasing research evidence that early intervention in a range of children's problems can have a positive effect on both children and families. There are a number of widely used screening tests available for the early detection of children's developmental problems, including the Denver II test; however, the routine uptake of these tests has been disappointing. They are time consuming; in some instances they require special training, and the general practitioner needs to purchase kits containing the required testing items.
Objective: This article looks at how developmental and behavioural disorders can be detected early on in the child's development by applying a new screening method which is useful in a general practice setting.
Discussion: As the focus of clinical practice moves more to prevention and early intervention, GPs are likely to become more involved with the early detection of developmental problems. Recently a new test--the Parents' Evaluation of Developmental Status (PEDS) has been developed. It requires parents to complete a 10 item questionnaire which the GP can then score and interpret according to a predetermined algorithm. The PEDS is simple and quick, and is thus ideal for the busy GP and has similar psychometric properties to other developmental screening tests. It also has the distinct advantage of actively involving parents in the process.