About The Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ-3)
The Ages and Stages Questionnaire, third addition (ASQ-3) is a screening tool that has been used by child care providers and parents for over 20 years to determine how children are developing, their strengths, and areas where they may need additional support. The questionnaire looks at specific areas of development including communication, physical ability, social skills, and problem-solving skills for children ages 1 month to 5 ½ years old. For classroom use, It is meant to be filled out with the support of parents or caretakers and then together, provider and parent can create ways to encourage and strengthen skills.
All observational questions, covering the areas listed above receive an answer of yes, sometimes, or not yet. For example, on a questionnaire for a 2 month old a question under communication would be, “Does the baby smile when you talk to him?” and the observer would fill in the appropriate bubble of yes, sometimes or not yet.
The frequency of screenings is determined by the child’s age and the child’s initial scores. The recommendations are every 4-6 months for children birth to two years old, every six months for 2–3 year olds as children grow and change so quickly. If a child scores in the darkly shaded area, it is recommended that they are referred to a specialist or re-screened in 2 months. It is important to identify delays in development as early as possible in order to create effective interventions.
Ages and Stages Questionnaire Features
Providers who attend an ASQ-3 training can expect to learn the following knowledge and skill sets:
1.Thorough understanding of the benefits of the developmental screening. The benefits of the screening are to monitor a child’s development frequently to ensure that any risk for delays are identified early. It is very important to note that the ASQ-3 is not a diagnosis, instead, it only identifies if a child is at risk for delays/disabilities.
2. Ability to describe features of the ASQ-3. The features include a history of the child, person filling out the questionnaire and program. The questionnaire wraps up with an “overall section” to give parents and providers space for additional comments for questions on hearing ability, medical problems, or any other concerns that may have not been mentioned in the questionnaire.
3. Learn to Score ASQ-3. All the questions add up to a score. Providers in the training are taught how to do so accurately. A preset amount of points is assigned to the answers yes, sometimes, and not yet. The answers given in the additional comments section can require follow-up.
4. Describe and interpret ASQ-3 cutoff scores. Training participants will learn to interpret the scores and how to proceed.
5. Sensitively communicate screening results. Teachers in the training will have an opportunity to practice discussing results with parents. They will learn how to communicate sensitive information regarding individualized lesson plans, referrals to specialists, and provide pertinent resources for families.
6. Discuss appropriate follow-up and referrals. The determined score creates a roadmap for individual needs of a child and family and how to best serve them. It also helps providers tailor the care and education they offer in their classroom.
The Benefits of the Ages and Stages Questionnaire
1. Promotes parent engagement-Parents and providers can work together to thoroughly work through the ASQ-3.
2. Educates parents about their child’s development-Parents and caretakers are the experts here. They may already notice the activities, language and skills of their child, and the ASQ-3 can help them further understand where their child is in their development milestones and what to expect in the future. It can also give them to language to identify any delays.
3. Encourages parents to provide developmentally appropriate activities for their child(ren)-When parents are keenly aware of the developmental milestones for each age and stage, they can create opportunities for their child to practice their developing skills and support them in areas of delay.
4. Providers are better able to serve children and families– Embracing the ASQ-3 as a tool in the classroom means providers will be able to indicate if children are developing on-schedule, need individualized lessons, or may need to be referred to a specialist.
How Does Quality Start Utilize the Ages and Stages Questionnaire?
QSSB offers the ASQ training an average of two times per year. This year we have moved to a virtual platform with great success! Providers who complete the training are typically offered a free ASQ-3 starter kit. The kit includes 21 print masters of the questionnaires and scoring sheets, which can all be photocopied, a CD-Rom with printable PDF questionnaires, the ASQ-3 User’s Guide, and the Quick Start Guide. These are available in Spanish upon request. Providers must attend a training to secure a starter kit to ensure proper understanding and usage of the tool. Now with virtual trainings, the kits are emailed to attendees.
All QSSB coaches are trained on the ASQ-3 and some have also attended the Trainer of Trainers, meaning many coaches have an expertise in ASQ-3. QSSB coaches are available to offer individualized assistance and support for participating providers utilizing the tool. And finally, any provider properly utilizing both the ASQ-3 and ASQ:SE-2, which looks at social-emotional help, will gain more points on the Quality Counts California matrix used by QSSB, possibly raising their quality rating.