Child development refers to how a child grows, including physical, social-emotional, cognitive and language development.
Child development consists of developmental milestones which are behaviors or sets of behaviors that indicate or "mark" developmental attainment and growth.
Children develop and grow at an accelerated rate in the first few years of life. By age three 80% of the adult brain is developed and much of the foundation for ongoing development and health is established.
Due to this accelerated rate of growth and development, it's easy to miss developmental red flags; this is why developmental screening is so critical.
It is important for all children to be screened for developmental milestones. The earlier developmental concerns are detected, the faster and easier they are to address. Early identification of potential concerns through developmental screening saves money, time and resources and helps children get back on track for learning and development so that they are happy, healthy and enter school ready to learn!
The Early Childhood Utah program within the Department of Health promotes developmental screening using the Ages and Stages Questionnaires®, third edition (ASQ®-3) and the Ages and Stages Questionnaires®: Social-Emotional, second edition (ASQ®:SE-2). The work is supported by the Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems (ECCS) Impact grant, which is a five year federal grant (2016-2021) offered through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and includes three Placed-Based Community (PBC) teams: Ogden United Promise Neighborhood, The City of South Salt Lake, and San Juan County. In addition, the ECCS Impact Grant works very closely with state Maternal, Infant Child Home Visiting (MIECHV) programs and Help Me Grow Utah to empower local communities to build capacity and align services to positively impact parents who are expecting and families with young children.
About the ASQ®-3 and ASQ®: SE-2
The ASQ tools are screening tools designed to track a child's developmental progress. It is most effective when completed by the parent, in partnership with someone who can convey results and connect the parent to further information and resources.
ASQ®-3: A quick check on milestones for children from birth through age five and a half and considers five areas.
- Fine Motor
- Gross Motor
- Problem Solving
ASQ®: SE-2: Looks specifically at social and emotional development in children from birth to age six.
Early Childhood Utah works with communities to connect parents to the ASQ®-3 and the ASQ®: SE-2. We do this in two ways:
- First, by training early childhood professionals such as home visitors; nurses, early educators, doctors on developmental screening and using the ASQ tools. Trained professionals support parents in learning about child development, using the ASQ tools, learning about easy-to-use and fun strategies they can use to strengthen their child's development and linking families to needed services.
- And second, when parents do not have access to the ASQ tools, or other developmental screening tools through their doctor's office or other local programs, we connect them to developmental screening through Help Me Grow Utah, which is a free, anonymous service that provides developmental screening, referral and follow up to families.
Are you a parent interested in using the ASQ?
If you're interested in using the ASQ tools, or another developmental screening tool for your child, speak first with your pediatrician or other early childhood provider. If they don't use a developmental screening tool, such as the ASQ, we recommend connecting with Help Me Grow Utah, a statewide nonprofit dedicated to connecting Utah children and their families to developmental screening and local community resources to promote optimal child development.
Are you interested in using and implementing the ASQ tools into your early childhood program?
Early Childhood Utah (ECU) is currently partnering with early childhood programs throughout the state to offer them:
- training on child development and developmental screening;
- access to the Ages & Stages Questionnaire- 3 (ASQ-3) and ASQ: Social-Emotional- 2 (ASQ:SE-2);
- access to an online ASQ account for electronic access to the ASQ tools and ease of timely results; and,
- technical assistance and support to ensure successful integration and sustainability of the tools into program practice.