If working with trainees, Chapter 8 of the PEDS:DM Professionals' Manual has information on how to teach developmental-behavioral assessment. It explains how to offer a direct administration, build rapport, manage behavior during testing, compensate for existing disabilities, explain results, etc.
For medical students, residents and fellows, independent learning opportunities are almost always needed (and a good skill for them to acquire). www.dbpeds.org has a "Screening Tutorial" that is quite helpful and trainees can start and stop, answer self-assessment questions, and acquire an excellent understanding of why it is best to use validated and accurate approaches to early detection. The site also has much information about disabilities, "the typical problems of typical children", parent education handouts, etc.
Other thoughts: have trainees work through the slide shows on this website (www.pedstest.com), and practice administering PEDS and the PEDS:DM. The PEDS Brief Guide is something they'll need to read through and practice with. Chapter 8 of the PEDS:DM manual covers how to administer the PEDS:DM directly to children, build rapport, use non-committal praise, manage children's (and parents') behavior during testing, compensate for existing disabilities, explain results, etc. These activities will teach trainees the value of parent-professional collaboration and also help them learn important milestones in development.
One of the best ways for trainees to learn about development is to send them on a half-day visit to a good day care or preschool program and let them observe children at various ages. There's nothing like seeing groups of 1 year olds, 2 year olds, 3 year olds, and so forth, for helping trainees grasp the enormous differences in skills by age levels. Trainees should go armed with observation tools (e.g., a PEDS:DM Assessment Level Booklet (to help identify red flags) and/or a copy the milestones chart in Chapter 8 (for a guide to average development).
Another activity that's quite helpful is to send trainees to a public school, ideally to a classroom where one of their continuity patients is enrolled. Although parent and school/teacher permission is required, trainees can be asked to handle that on their own. If they can schedule their visit during a time when there is at least some opportunity for teachers to talk, that's invaluable, as is observing children in classrooms. During the visit, trainees might (with permission) obtain existing group achievement test scores and work through Chapter 7 of the PEDS:DM Professionals' Manual. This chapter contains an algorithm using existing test scores and clinical judgment to discern whether a likely explanation for children's difficulties involves language deficits, learning disabilities, intellectual disability, mental health issues, a range of challenging life circumstances, or (and only after the above), ADHD (since inattention is often a marker for other problems and not always the root cause).
It might also be possible for trainees to administer the two measures in the back of the Family Book designed for older children, i.e., the Safety Word Inventory and Literacy Screener and the Pictorial Pediatric Symptoms Checklist-17 (Scoring for both is in Chapter 5). Also consider having trainees create (or update) a list of local referral resources. Trainees should ideally, visit them all (Head Start, Early Head Start, mental health clinics, day care, early intervention (going with the EI providers on a home visit is especially valuable), parenting programs, special education classrooms, etc.). Trainees could take responsibility for creating a laminated mini-poster to be attached to the wall of each continuity exam room (where parents can see it too!), thus easing the referral process and educating parents about services along the way.
One of the (positive) side-effects of screening, especially when using PEDS to elicit and address parents' concerns, is that providers can readily see when parents need help promoting healthy development and behavior. This means an increase in the need for parent education materials. Consider having residents gather handouts (Chapter 6 of the PEDS:DM Professionals' Manual has ones that are photocopiable along with websites to other information resources. Trainees could be asked to download, customize and manage these (e.g., residents at Vanderbilt (all of whom had a required project) took the initiative to get plastic bins, grouped by age and topic, get them adhered to the back wall of the clinic for housing copies of parent education materials there (laminating the original so it wouldn't get lost)). One year, they even set up a parent training class (using an established effective curricula and a cohert of two year olds)! Impressive, although much like group well-visits, this requires tons of staff support, and preferably at least a small amount of external funding.
One other helpful activity is the post-test on PEDS that trainees can use for self-assessment to ensure they have sufficient background information (e.g.,on the impact of psychosocial risk and parenting style), know how to administer the measure and avoid some of the pitfalls (like not exploring parents' literacy, not insisting that parents write something on the form), etc. This is downloadable on www.pedstest.com. We're creating a pre-post-test for the PEDS:DM so if you have suggestions for questions, please email me (email@example.com).
Finally, trainees and faculty are welcome to join our early detection discussion list. Sign up at www.pedstest.com! Please share your ideas and recommendations on training