Families of children with motor disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, Duchenne or Becker muscular dystrophies, or spinal muscular atrophy commonly describe a long and often heartrending “odyssey” of tests and consultations before they arrived at the correct diagnosis.

A new AAP clinical report and accompanying algorithm published in the June issue of Pediatrics guide pediatricians in the screening and workup of children with suspected motor delays.

In 2006, the Academy published an algorithm to guide developmental screening in the medical home, recommending that clinicians use standardized tools to identify children with or at risk for developmental disorders (Pediatrics. 2006;118:405-420). The emphasis primarily was on the early recognition of cognitive and communication disorders — including autism spectrum disorders — rather than disorders of motor development.

Focus groups with clinicians at the 2010 AAP National Conference & Exhibition and other quantitative assessments made it apparent that pediatricians also needed guidance around the...

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