Growth and Developmental Surveillance in School Days is Life Changing.

School days play an integral role in every child’s life. Primarily it provides an opportunity for complete development by learning new things in a stimulating environment. Growth and developmental surveillance in schools help learners to attain their full potential moreover such early intervention can be life-changing.

Developmental screening help to access if the child is achieving milestones as per his/her age. For instance, a child’s ability to play, learn, speak, and behave as per the situation. It gives an idea about whether the child meets the required criteria for growth furthermore if there are concerns, appropriate measures are taken to resolve the developmental disturbances.

What are different developmental areas?

Mainly there are 5 major areas of development.

  1. Gross motor skills such as crawling, walking, running, and jumping
  2. Find motor skills such as holding things, brushing teeth, writing, drawing, buttoning, and unbuttoning clothes etc
  3. Speech and language
  4. Cognitive and intellectual development such as logical reasoning, counting numbers, recognition of shapes, paying attention etc
  5. Socio-emotional skills such as self-awareness, problem-solving, playing and sharing with other children.

What is the right age for growth and developmental surveillance?

Ideally, developmental surveillance should be carried out from birth to 3 years of age. However, every child is different which is why in pre-primary children of age 4 to 5 years, it is equally beneficial.

For example, at the age of four, the child can recognise different emotions ‘sad’, and ‘happy’; a child can identify different places such as temples, schools, homes etc; some children can pretend play. At age 4, children are afraid of risks such as jumping from a certain height. Most children can communicate with small sentences.

Why it is important in school days?

10 to 15% of preschool children suffer from developmental delays. Catching a growth disturbance or behavioural concern is not always possible at an early age unless they enter school. In such instances, school days provide the best opportunity to perform screening for aged 3 and older children. The growth and developmental surveillance are carried out during health check-ups in students.

If identified with any disability such as autism, learning problems, attention-deficit /hyperactivity disorder, or cerebral palsy; it may further require tests, assessments, screening, and evaluation to conclude the development or behavioural problem. Consequently, the child will require special educational and medical facilities.


Delay in recognition during school days, render missed opportunities, furthermore it will take a toll on the life of the child and family. In some cases, it may pose a higher risk of medical complications. Wait-and-watch methods can interfere with a child’s developmental trajectory.

As aforementioned, developmental delays require a special education plan for the child. The students not only require different training to reach their potential but also chronic condition management in some cases.

Growth and developmental surveillance during school days:

The surveillance is an ongoing process and needs to be carried out at determined intervals. Parents play a vital role in overall activity. After observing the child, healthcare professionals can ask about the developmental history of the parents and understand their concerns. The doctors will explain the problem to parents and document the result. If any developmental disturbances are found, the doctor will refer the child to further evaluation.

When parents are worried about their child’s development or if feel he/she is lagging, they should approach teachers and school staff. Parents and teachers should discuss the right steps for a child’s wellness. Early intervention in children aids in clinical diagnosis as well as pertinent treatment.

At present, the detection of developmental disturbances is at a lower rate or advanced age. Identifying delays in milestones at an early age is the actual challenge. Every school should promote growth surveillance during school days. Prompt action is necessary for every concern. Behavioural disorders are equally important to be addressed.

On average, 600 to 1000 hours are spent in school days. Schools are just like second homes to a student; where they grow and get ready for the future. Early intervention and promoting growth and developmental surveillance in school can change the life of many children seeking care.


In all children from birth to 3 years of age developmental surveillance is mandatory.

If delayed in recognition at an early age, school days are a golden opportunity to facilitate growth and development surveillance.

If results are positive, a child is further referred for screening and evaluation with experts and advanced tools.

Children with learning difficulties, autism, behavioural concern, and ADHD have the benefits of early detection and referral to special facilities.


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