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Pediatricians are accustomed to the use of screening in the course of primary care for children and adolescents. Screening for some problems, such as lead poisoning or anemia, involves relatively simple procedures compared with the more daunting task of screening for possible behavioral or developmental concerns. To merit population screening, a condition must be important, reasonably common, identifiable by screening before becoming evident clinically, have an effective treatment that is enhanced if provided early, and have an acceptable screening test available. Screening tests must be inexpensive to administer and score, be acceptable to patients, produce reliable results, and have adequate validity.

It has been established that substantial variations and delays in children’s motor and cognitive development meet these criteria. (1) However, behavioral variations and problems are harder to define and to classify, and the boundaries of pediatricians’ responsibility are...

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