Is grade inflation hitting babies & toddlers, too?

CDC has revised the developmental milestone checklist for children … uh-oh.

Yep, the CDC is at work again.

Now, their guidance takes form in the CDC’s Revised developmental milestone checklist which alerts parents (and doctors) to warning signs of children’s developmental delays.

Sounds innocuous enough, right?

But, according to Parent’s magazine, “experts are raising the alarm that the new changes may cause more harm than good.”


According to the American Academy of Pediatrics: “The revised developmental milestones are written in family-friendly language and identify the behaviors that 75% or more of children can be expected to exhibit at a certain age based on data, developmental resources and clinician experience.”

Family-friendly language sounds like a good thing, right?

What’s the rub?

The 75% threshold.

The old standard flagged kids who were in the 50th percentile and below.

Said differently kids in the bottom half used to be flagged for “clinical evaluation” to determine whether they were really behind on their development or just appeared to be.

The old (tougher) standard made sense because “The earlier a child is identified with a developmental delay the better, as treatment as well as learning interventions can begin”. AAP

But, apparently, that standard was causing parents too much stress.

Too many kids were flagged as behind in their development.

The answer: relax the standards … i.e. grade inflation.

For example, under the old standard, the CDC said that  a 24-month-old should say an average of 50 words.

But, the revised guidelines say parents shouldn’t expect a toddler to have a 50 word vocabulary until they are 30 months old.

Many parents can sigh relief.

Little Tommy’s not slow, after all.

Well parents, Little Tommy hasn’t changed, fols … just the bar has been lowered.

Little Tommy may not be getting the sort of clinical help that he might need.


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