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Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Early Identification of Developmental Delays

Online Course Materials:    ArticlesArticles   

Developed by Alessandra Maria Chiesa, Ph.D.

General Course Description

The COVID-19 pandemic in the USA has had many unexpected consequences. For prekindergarten children, the pandemic has had a notably negative impact on the early identification of Global Developmental Delays (GDDs) in basic developmental areas (physical, cognitive, communication, social, emotional, daily living skills, and/or behavioral skills). Early identification often takes place in physician’s offices and preschools. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, research indicates children have had fewer physicians’ visits, particularly to pediatricians. Moreover, many parents have opted not to send their children to daycare or preschool. As a result, medical personnel and preschool staff have not had direct contact with prekindergarten children in order to identify GDDs in children’s early years.

This intermediate level course is comprised of a single article. The purpose of this course is to (1) explore how the pandemic has impacted the early identification of GDDs and (2) propose ways in which Mental Health Providers (MHPs) may help address the early identification gap. References are provided to sites clinicians can access to download forms, checklists, and other information to assist in diagnosis and helping families.

Educational Objectives:

    This course will teach the participant to:

  • Analyze how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the process of early identification of possible developmental delays in preschool children.
  • Define what a red flag indicator is and identify at least five red flag indicators of a possible developmental delay in seven primary developmental areas of preschool children.
  • Identify at least three ways a Mental Health Practitioner (MHP) may help fill the gap in early identification of possible developmental delays due to fewer pediatrician visits and preschool attendance during the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • Introduction
    • Information about Global Developmental Delays (GDDs) Definitions
    • What are some red flag indicators of a GDD?
    • Why is early identification of GDDs important?
  • How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the early identification of a possible GDD?
    • The COVID-19 pandemic & prekindergarten students
    • COVID-19 pandemic & decrease in pediatrician visits and preschool enrollment for prekindergarten students.
  • How may community MHPs help address the gap in the early identification of possible red flag indicators for a GDD?
    • Learn about your community’s resources Become familiar with red flag indicators of GDDs
    • Use your clinical listening and observation skills to gather data
  • Provide the family with emotional support
    • Clinician take away
    • Epilogue
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Cost: $19.00


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