Date of Degree


Document Type

Doctoral Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Diana Beckmann-Mendez


Maria del Rosario Hernandez Aguirre


A dramatic growth of physical, motor, cognitive, communication, emotional, and social development will occur during the 3 years of life. Of children ages 3-17 years of age, 13% have some type of developmental or behavioral condition that goes undiagnosed before the age of 10. Children with multiple health and social risk factors, or those with chronic health disorders, are at greater risk to develop early child delays or disabilities. In the U. S., developmental screenings are only completed 21% of the time during well-child visits. Therefore, the purpose of this quality improvement project was to increase the adherence of health care providers’ completion of developmental screenings at the recommended ages during well-child visits. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the use of validated screening tools for examining developmental delays and screening for autism at specific ages. For this project, the Parents’ Evaluation Developmental Status and the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers-Revised were implemented into a primary care setting. The interventions included implementation of the 2 screening tools over a period of 3 months, administration of parent educational materials, and training on recommended screening schedules. Chi-square and descriptive analysis results concluded significant improvement screening and referral rates. This project revealed that child development screenings could be implemented successfully into a busy primary care clinic without interruption of the workflow. Completion of these screenings provided an opportunity for parents and providers to work closely together to discuss any developmental concerns and ensure that referrals were processed as soon as issues were detected.