Background: The Parental Evaluation of Developmental Status (PEDS®) questionnaire is a validated 10-item questionnaire that elicits parental concerns in multiple developmental areas. Little is known about how caretakers in minority populations perceive this tool to assess normal development.

Objective: To survey caretaker’s perceptions about the usefulness of the PEDS® questionnaire to assess child development and self-evaluation regarding child development knowledge.

Design/Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey of a convenience sample at a resident’s continuity clinic at an academic community center in Philadelphia, PA. Inclusion criteria were: 1) Caretaker aged 18years 2) Child aged 2m-8years 3) Caretaker completed at least one PEDS® survey at a previous visit. Data were analyzed with Pearson Chi-square. The study was approved for exempt status by the IRB.

Results: A total of 421 caretakers were approached, 269 met criteria, 231 were enrolled and 38 refused. Most caretakers felt confident with their level of knowledge about child development (36% average, 51% enough, 5% experts). The educational level of the caretakers was significantly associated with their self-assessment of child development knowledge (p=0.006). The majority (79%) reported the purpose of the PEDS® was explained to them, and 78% felt that completing the PEDS® form was easy/ very easy. Two thirds (65%) felt the PEDS® was helpful to identify problems in their child’s development and 30% felt it was somewhat helpful. Half (53%) reported concerns in the PEDS®, but a third (29%) of these reported the concerns were not addressed by the provider. Most (74%) caretakers were satisfied with the PEDS®. Many parents commented that the PEDS® questions were too broad and should be age specific . The majority (90%) agreed that, in addition to PEDS®, a checklist could be helpful in understanding their child’s development.

Conclusions: Overall caretakers felt the PEDS® was an easy tool to assess child development. However, a third felt the PEDS® alone was not enough to identify problems in their child’s development and another third felt that their concerns had not been adequately addressed. These findings should encourage healthcare providers to address parental developmental concerns and provide additional tools to improve parental understanding about normal development. An additional developmental checklist may help address this need.

Comment: Complementing PEDS® with an accurate milestones screens addresses AAP policy, helps parents learn more about expected developmental skills, and helps clinicians decide whether, for those children who land on Path B (moderate risk) or who land on Path C after 4 1/2 years of age (mental health risk), a referral is needed or whether advising parents is the best course (with vigilant monitoring,of course). Use of the PEDS:DM® is a brief and helpful adjunct. Providers should also take opportunities at all well-visits to promote development, share information about typical development, etc.