The early years of a child’s life are the most important years, as it is during this stage that the brain develops rapidly (Davies, 2008). Realizing the importance of a holistic development is very important for young children, especially as they transition into older years, the Early Childhood Commission (ECC), in alignment with the National Strategic Plan (NSP3), Internal Process 3: Early and Effective Screening, Diagnosis and Intervention for “at risk” children and households, continues to develop and improve the tools that are available within the sector to screen for early detection of learning and developmental delays in children.
This article will continue to highlight the progress of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) sector in the successful development and implementation of developmental screening and intervention tools. The last article focused on the Jamaica School Readiness Assessment, this article will focus on the Ages and Stages Questionnaire Jamaica (ASQ-J); What is the ASQ-J? How is the ASQ-J administered? and What are the current updates on the ASQ-J?
What are the Ages and Stages Questionnaires?
The ASQ-J was design to screen the five domains of development in young children: communication, personal-social, problem solving, fine motor and gross motor skills. There are three questionnaires in the series: 48 Months, 54 Months and 60 Months. The ASQ-J includes a total of 20 questions, that are design for administration base on the child’s chronological age at the date of administration.
Process in Administrating the Ages and Stages Questionnaires
Before administering the ASQ-J, the child’s chronological age must first be calculated. In calculating the child’s chronological age, the child’s date of birth is subtracted from the date the questionnaire is being administered. This is done to determine if which one of the three questionnaires you use as, this age determine whether the child use the 48 Months, 54 Months or the 60 Months.
After selecting the correct questionnaire to be administered; the child and parent are engaged in a series of activities and questions. During the administration of the questionnaire, the interviewee records one of the following responses:
“Yes” – if the child is able to do the task or answer the question.
“Sometimes” – the child rarely carries out the activity
“Not yet”– if the child cannot yet do the skill.
For the next step, the ratings are recorded and then converted to scores; the total is then used to determine where on the developmental spectrum the child is for each domain.
Updates on the Ages and Stages Questionnaire Jamaica
ECC’s field officers were engaged in a three day training on the ASQ-J, from July 19–21, 2022. The training included a detailed explanation of the procedure for calculating the chronological ages when administering the questionnaires. The training focused on the method of assigning scores, to see where on the spectrum the child falls on each level of the developmental domain. The scores are used to determine the recommendations and intervention strategies for the child. The officers were also engaged in on-the-spot interview sessions with volunteer parents and children.
Reference: Davis, R. (2008). The Jamaica Early Childhood Curriculum conceptual
framework. Retrieved from https://ecc.gov.jm/curricula/