Ages & Stages: Getting Started in Developmental Screening

If you haven’t heard of it yet, you are bound to sometime in your professional or personal life: The Ages & Stages Questionnaire is a screening tool used to evaluate children to identify development and determine if it is on-schedule, needs some extra support, or is at-risk for developmental delays. The Parent-Completed, Child-Monitoring System was developed at the University of Oregon in the early 1980s. The questionnaires, referred to as the ASQ, was introduced to provide a low-cost strategy to monitor the development of infants and young children.  ASQ is composed of 19 different questionnaires that can be used by most parents to reliably report the developmental status of their infant or young child.

            When given to all children at a set time, like entry into child care, it becomes a “universal  screening”.  Why screen in the first place?  Because parents want information about how their child is developing and the earlier developmental delays can be identified, the sooner parents can understand and seek support for their child’s individual needs.

            How does it work?  Parents (or caregivers) answer questions about the child’s general development and the child’s social /emotional development. The questions are focused on a frame of mind that supports development rather than “what is wrong with a child.” The questions also place development along a milestone continuum, which acknowledges that children develop at their own pace. Results from the ASQ can be discussed with a child’s primary care physician and/or Early Intervention Educators to form a plan to support the family and the child.  

                Under  current QRIS/Spark, star-rated programs evaluate children with a universal screening tool such as the ASQ when children are enrolled in the program and then, again, later to measure progress.  You may wish to become more familiar with the ASQ in order to use it in your program.  NW Regional will be offering an “ASQ Explained” training in the Fall Quarter Training Calendar of 2018. In the meantime, there are lots of good reference materials and online resources to learn more. If you are interested, why not start with the real thing…?  

The ASQ questionnaires can be completed online at:

Debby ReedComment