18 March 2021
Parents and carers know their child better than anyone else and can notice things about the way they play, talk and eat that no one else does. These observations are all you need to answer 10 simple but important questions about your child to check if their development is on track.
These questions make up the Parents’ Evaluation of Development Status (PEDS) questionnaire, which can help identify any developmental and behavioural issues early so children can get the support and services they need to ensure they reach their full potential. You’ll find these questions in your child’s red book (aka their Personal Health Record before each health check from six months of age.
It only takes a few minutes to go through the questions but it can be life-changing for a child with developmental challenges.
So what exactly is child development?
Child development is the process of learning and mastering basic skills such as sitting, walking, talking, eating, thinking and toileting.
Children typically learn these new skills, known as developmental milestones, during predictable periods of time.
For example, most children will achieve the developmental milestone of learning to walk between the ages of nine and 15 months.
Why is the PEDS important?
Research shows that sharing any concerns you have about your child can help your healthcare provider better understand your child and may help detect problems early.
When development and behaviour issues are identified early, intervention and support services can be arranged to minimise the impact these issues have on a child’s life.
The 10 questions that can change a child’s life
- List any concerns about your child’s learning, development and behaviour.
- Do you have any concerns about how your child talks and makes speech sounds?
- Do you have any concerns about how your child understands what you say?
- Do you have any concerns about how your child uses his or her hands and fingers to do things?
- Do you have any concerns about how your child uses his or her arms and legs?
- Do you have any concerns about how your child behaves?
- Do you have any concerns about how your child gets along with others?
- Do you have any concerns about how your child is learning to do things for himself/herself?
- Do you have any concerns about how your child is learning preschool or school skills?
- Do you have any other concerns?
When should you do the PEDS?
The PEDS questionnaire should be completed at your child’s key health checks at six months, 12 months, 18 months, two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half years, and between four and five years.
Where should I do it?
You can complete the PEDS questions at home before your child’s health check or you can go through them with your child health nurse at the appointment.
What happen if the PEDS identifies a possible developmental issue with my child?
If the PEDS screening identifies any potential development issues, your doctor or child health nurse will speak with you about a follow-up plan. You may be asked to do some activities at home with your child or attend another developmental screening.
What if I am concerned about my child’s development?
If you are concerned about your child’s development at any age, speak to your child health nurse or GP as soon as possible. You don’t have to wait for the ages listed in the Personal Health Record to ask questions.