Developmental screening, a secondary form of prevention, is designed to facilitate early identification and treatment of children in whom a developmental problem has been diagnosed. Ideally, this is accomplished through the administration of a quick, simple, economical procedure that is designed to identify children having a high probability of being delayed. Unfortunately, no single, brief developmental screening test exists that has equal accuracy in identifying the wide gamut of developmental problems in areas such as cognition, language, speech, motor, and social development. In addition, the child's changing development over time limits the predictive accuracy of any such test.
Despite these limitations, developmental screening, like a growth measurement, has value as an aide in developmental surveillance, because it enables its user to combine its results with those of parent concerns, child observations, immunizations, and anticipatory guidance to promote the child's development. This process, rather than waiting for the child to be deviant, is a primary prevention approach that aims to assure that every child receiving such surveillance develops to his or her maximum potential. The DENVER II is designed to assist in this program.