The Quick Peek Program
Bringing screening to the community
Busy parents in New Jersey with questions about their young children’s development don’t have to go far to get a free screening for their children. Through funding by Kohl’s Cares*, Children’s Specialized Hospital created the Quick Peek Early Developmental Screening Program to make it easy for parents to bring their young children into their local library or Kohl’s store for a screening with the ASQ-3™ developmental screener.
Parents with concerns, or just curiosity about their child’s development, don’t need to worry about having insurance or transportation to get to a special facility … they can simply find when the next Quick Peek screening is or just walk in to their local Kohl’s or library when screening is being offered. (Registration is encouraged.)
What parents can expect
Each screening takes about 30 minutes and involves a series of questions for the parent and activities for the child. Amy Norton, Quick Peek program coordinator, says some children start off shy but typically end up giggling, not wanting to leave.
According to Amy, parents are grateful for the screenings since most have concerns about their kids but do not know where to turn. It gives them an opportunity to express their concerns and have their questions addressed. The Quick Peek providers talk with the parents about the screening results and provide information on general child development and activities they can do to encourage their child’s development (something families in underserved communities have particularly said they want).
Screenings can be conducted in English or Spanish. Marilyn Zuniga, Quick Peek’s bilingual screener, is also the assistant coordinator of autism services for Children’s Specialized Hospital.
At the end of screening, parents are given a letter indicating whether the child’s performance falls within the typical range or shows any concerns. If the results suggest a need for further evaluation, the Quick Peek provider reviews options with the parents and recommends parents share the findings with their pediatrician. They may supply other information as well, depending on the needs of the child: ways to access school evaluations, Early Intervention contact information, parenting workshops, resources for further evaluations.
They sometimes coach parents on how to make the first phone call for next steps. And they give them a copy of the Milestone Moments pamphlet from the CDC. (Links to this pamphlet, along with other key resources, can be found in the ASQ developmental screening toolkit). Finally, each family who receives a recommendation for further evaluation will get a follow-up phone call to see if they were able to secure services or need additional help linking to services.
Children’s Specialized Hospital
According to Program Director Amy Norton, the Quick Peek program is a natural extension of Children’s Specialized Hospital’s commitment to early identification of young children at risk for autism or other developmental disabilities. As part of that commitment, the hospital has created developmental screening programs at major outpatient sites in New Jersey and conducted resource programs aimed at improving access to screening and diagnosis for young children within underserved communities.
Quick Peek takes those efforts one step further by bringing developmental screening right into the communities where young children live. So far, the program has served more than 160 children, with more to come. By the end of its first year, it will have conducted 17 clinics at screening sites in eight different communities. It is a model program demonstrating an innovative way to provide easy, public access to developmental screening for families right in their own communities.
*Through the Kohl’s Cares initiative, Kohl’s sells $5 books and plush toys, 100% of the net profits of which are granted to health and education programs benefiting children nationwide.