The revision of the Developmental Surveillance Milestone Checklists began in 2019, and they were developed using an evidence-informed methodology. This process was based on 15 years of experience using the old checklists, perspectives of parents of children with disabilities, subject matter experts (i.e., pediatricians, psychologists, and a professor of special education and early intervention), and an extensive review of the literature. Standardized assessment tools such as the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, Beery-Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration, and Peabody Developmental Motor Scale were also reviewed. Each of the data sources was cross-referenced with the others to get a sense of the evidence base available to support inclusion of a milestone in the revised CDC Developmental Surveillance Milestone Checklists. The previous version of the CDC Developmental Surveillance Milestone Checklists created in 2004 “...were based mainly on clinical opinion, not on empirically informed evidence” (Zubler et al., 2022, p. 2).
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also established 11 criteria for the CDC Developmental Surveillance Milestone Checklists. These criteria were focused on using plain language and avoiding vague terms, making the checklists easy to use for families from different social, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds, and reducing confusion about whether a child was expected to demonstrate a milestone. A full description of the methods used to develop the CDC Developmental Surveillance Milestone Checklists is available in the AAP journal Pediatrics.