What Comes After ASQ?

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Reassurance and referral: the next steps after screening.

Screening with ASQ is a powerful first step to understanding how a child is progressing through his or her developmental milestones. Parents, educators, and professionals gain critical knowledge that helps them determine what to do next.

For children on track, ASQ results offer reassurance and the opportunity to celebrate new milestones. For children who are not meeting milestones (or fall below the ASQ-3™ cutoff), screening alone isn’t complete without the final step of referral—whether you make a formal referral for a child who qualifies for state and federal programs or a referral to local resources and services. After all, the whole point of screening is to see that young children who have developmental delays get the intervention services they need.

Early Identification, Then Referral

Once a screening tool such as ASQ-3 has been completed by the parent and scored, the professional determines the next step:

  1. Generally, if a child scores below the cutoff, the professional makes a referral for further assessment or intervention, taking into account factors that may have influenced a child’s scores, such as setting/time of day of screening, health, and family or cultural factors.
  2. If a child scores near but not below the cutoff (in the monitoring zone), the professional should weigh the parents’ concerns. If the parents express a substantial concern, the professional may decide to refer for further assessment. Otherwise, you can provide follow-up activities and plan to screen again. (The User’s Guides contain reproducible activities you can send home with parents to work on with their child at home. The ASQ-3 Learning Activities book contains more than 400 activities.)
  3. If a child scores well above the cutoff, the professional can talk to parents about opportunities to practice skills, provide activities, and plan to screen again at the next visit.
Early Intervention Services

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), every state is required to provide services to infants, toddlers, and preschoolers who demonstrate delays with regard to child development stages—or have disabilities or who are at risk for disabilities. Children who are referred for further assessment after screening may be found to be eligible for these services depending on the results.

Early intervention services for infants and toddlers, covered under Part C of IDEA, include education, health care, and social services. The early intervention “team” may include a variety of professionals, including educators, speech-language pathologists, physical therapists, psychologists, social workers, and nurses.

For more information on early intervention services and IDEA from the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center, read:

Early Intervention Program for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities

  • A boy raises his hand as a girl claps.

    What ASQ Users are Saying

    “What I love about the ASQ is that it allows our staff to catch delays quickly and allows us to get our clients the early intervention programs that they sometimes need. In many cases [ASQ] helps us catch children up before they start kindergarten, therefore providing children with the start that they deserve.

    Sharon Gee, Supervisor, Healthy Families Niagara