back to home page: Developmental Screening Tool Kit for Primary Care Providers

Screening Tools - Denver II

  • Uses parent information and direct observation
  • Cost: $90 for the complete English language packet, $120 for Spanish
  • Time: 20 minutes total
  • Languages: English and Spanish
  • Age Range: 2 weeks -6 years
  • Sensitivity 56-83%
  • Specificity 43-80%

The Denver II Test uses both parent observation and direct observation and has long been the standard for developmental screening. It is available in English and Spanish and covers children 2 weeks to 6 years of age, but only up to 50% of those with developmental needs will be identified.

Most children (up to 99%) who have no needs will pass, so the false positive rate is low. For the complete test, 20 minutes is required. Many items are required for the Denver to be completed, which may be difficult to maintain and access in a busy practice.

There is no single scoring method yielding adequate sensitivity and specificity. If "no opportunity" is scored as a fail, most affected children will be referred but with substantial over-referrals. If "no opportunity" is scores as a pass, then over-referrals are minimized but many children with needs will be missed.

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