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ASQ: ‘A great help to this first-time mom’

May 9, 2017

Child ASQ

When Tricia discovered that her happy, healthy 9-month old baby had a slight developmental delay, she was surprised. Her daughter seemed to be achieving developmental milestones such as mimicking different sounds and babbling “mama” and “dada,” recognizing strangers, crawling and beginning to pull herself up to a standing position.

After taking the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ), Tricia learned that Caroline was having trouble with fine motor skills like picking things up with her thumb and index finger. “I later realized that it wasn’t because she wasn’t able, I just wasn’t giving her the opportunity,” Tricia says.

Since 2013, 4C has offered early intervention ASQ training to Northern Kentucky child care providers and agencies. According to Sandy Woodall, quality programs team leader, “the importance of this screen, on a scale of one to five, is a five-and-a-half!”

Over the past two years, staff at 25 child care centers have completed the ASQ training and coaching and are now administering it to the children they serve, assessing the results and giving referrals for ongoing assistance when needed. To date, 141 screenings have been completed.

The ASQ is taken by an adult who is with the child 50 percent of the time and can be completed in 10 to 15 minutes.

Areas the ASQ focuses on are communications, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, problem solving and personal/social issues. Screenings are specific to a child’s age and can first be taken when a child is two months up to five years.

“It’s important for parents to know that this screen isn’t something to be frightened of,” Sandy says. “It’s a positive way to help children get the best possible start in learning. When developmental delays are caught early, they are more likely to be overcome.”

Tricia was given activities to do at home to help improve Caroline’s fine motor skills. A month later, she took the ASQ again and the results showed vast improvement. In other cases, a referral (with parental consent) may be needed for the child to receive additional help.

“I think the ASQ is a very valuable tool because it helps educate parents about typical development for various age levels and helps us learn about our children,” Tricia says. “It’s been a great help to this first-time mom!”

By increasing the number of skilled ASQ providers throughout Northern Kentucky, 4C is helping support the goal that 85% of children enter kindergarten ready to learn.

"Before we started this training and coaching,” Sandy says, “most of the referrals that the First Steps Early Intervention program received were from doctors and hospitals. Now they receive equal numbers of referrals from child care centers. We are definitely giving centers and community agencies the tools they need to reach children who may have slipped through the cracks before.”

First Steps provides services to children (birth to age 3) in Northern Kentucky with developmental delays and their families.

“Oftentimes the issues this tool surfaces are not seen until a child starts school and then the child is at risk of falling behind,” Sandy says. “This is an invaluable tool that helps get children help as early as possible and that’s key to future success.”