BACKGROUND/AIMS: Very preterm children (VPT-born < 29 weeks gestation) are at high risk for delay across a range of developmental domains. The diagnostic utility of the Parents’ Evaluation of Developmental Status: Developmental Milestones (PEDS:DM®) Assessment Level in screening for children with i)domain specific and ii)global cognitive delay was assessed in VPT children.

METHOD: Cross-sectional cohort of infants at 2 and 4-years corrected age for prematurity during 2010. Parents completed the PEDS:DM®-Assessment Level in correctly identifying language, motor and social-emotional domain development which was compared with a blinded 2-year-olds Bayley Scales of Infant Development III, 4-year-olds, Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence-Third Edition, and for both ages a Neurosensory Motor Development Assessment and Adaptive Behaviour Assessment System-Second Edition. Diagnostic validity-screening test characteristics were determined for each domain and global cognition.

RESULTS: Complete data was available on 149/192 (2-years, N = 73 and 4-years, N = 76) children. The prevalence for developmental delay using each tools standardized mean 2 (SD) was lower in all domains and globally compared to the established cut-off PEDS:DM® domain scores (≥25%-16th percentile). Sensitivity and specificity were consistently high (predominately >70%) as was the negative predictive value (>77%). The positive predictive value was lower reflecting the high over-referral rate. Mothers stated they found the assessment useful in articulating their infants’ developmental strengths and weaknesses by domains.

CONCLUSION: This simple tool has good diagnostic utility for identifying domain specific and global cognitive delay and can be used to enhance surveillance, and would be useful in recourse restricted environments.