4 Decades of Development

Shot of an enthusiastic little boy wearing a raincoat outside

A timeline of ASQ.

Designing a precise, trustworthy screening system doesn’t happen overnight. It takes equal parts vision, research, development, and expertise to make it work efficiently and accurately.

Check out the story behind ASQ®—from its beginning to its ongoing evolution as the premier screening system.

Dr. Diane Bricker from the University of Oregon heeds the call to design economical, valid and culturally sensitive screening tools for young children at risk for developmental delays. She handpicks a team of fellow University researchers to join her quest.

A landmark study (Knobloch, 1979) reveals the opportunities that parent-completed reports could bring: lower costs and higher accuracy.

1980s – 1990s
Dr. Bricker and Dr. Jane Squires perform deep industry research. Identify set of skills easily observed or elicited by parents and highly likely to occur in a home setting.

A new breed of questionnaires is created, each specifically crafted for a different stage of development that asked parents simple questions about their child’s observable behaviors.

Refinements and evolution of questionnaires per validity and utility data gleaned from its users (project staff, interventionists, parents, nurses, and pediatricians).

Questionnaires first published by Brookes Publishing as the Ages & Stages Questionnaires® (ASQ®): A Parent-Completed, Child-Monitoring System. The tool had 8 questionnaire intervals ending at 48 months.

Increasing demands for social-emotional screening spark the development for a companion tool to ASQ—Ages & Stages Questionnaires®: Social-Emotional (ASQ®:SE). Items in ASQ:SE are developed using multiple sources, such as standardized social-emotional and developmental assessments, textbooks and other resources in developmental and abnormal psychology, language and communication materials, and education and intervention resources.

Validity, reliability, and utility studies on a field-test version ASQ:SE are initiated.

Demand for screening increases with the passage of Individual with Disabilities Act (IDEA) of 1997 amendments which established Child Find requirements for states.

1997 – 1998
Work continued on the developmental screener ASQ as the following intervals were developed: 10, 14, 22, 27, 33, 42, 54, and 60 months.

1997 – 2001
ASQ:SE item review in progress by a wide breadth of experts in psychology, psychiatry, education, early childhood development, pediatrics, nursing, and mental health.

Approximately 50 programs across the U.S. also are using the test version of ASQ:SE with a diverse population of children and parents.

Validity, reliability, and utility studies continue to determine the psychometric properties of the screening instrument.

A Migrant Head Start program in Oregon translates the final ASQ:SE into Spanish. The translation is used with 153 children whose families are non-English speakers.

Revised and expanded 2nd edition of ASQ is published—informed by continuing research and user feedback.

International research begins in earnest. Early studies are conducted in Finland and Norway. Extensive research, including standardization, are later undertaken in China, Portugal, and Brazil.

Ages & Stages Questionnaires®: Social-Emotional (ASQ®:SE): A Parent-Completed, Child-Monitoring System for Social-Emotional Behaviors is first published commercially by Brookes Publishing.

Data collection begins on the 3rd edition, ASQ-3. Over 4 years, approximately 18,000 ASQ-3 questionnaires are collected on children from all 50 states and several U.S. territories.

American Academy of Pediatrics revises its policy on developmental screening with an algorithm that includes screening at 9-, 18-, and 30-month well child visits in the article Identifying Infants and Young Children With Developmental Disorders in the Medical Home: An Algorithm for Developmental Surveillance and Screening. Statements of reaffirmation were published in 2010 and 2014.

Ages & Stages Questionnaires®, Third Edition (ASQ®-3) is published. Among the many changes, this edition features new 2 and 9 month questionnaires, expanded administration windows, new standardization with a sample that includes 15,138 children whose parents completed 18,232 questionnaires, revised cutoff scores, monitoring zone, and much more.

The debut of ASQ® Online management and questionnaire completion for ease of use, resource savings, and improved accuracy.

Work on the 2nd edition of ASQ:SE begins. Over a 2-year period, 16,424 questionnaires were completed by parents and caregivers across the United States and Canada.

Final item set for ASQ:SE-2 is decided, and investigation of convergent validity and test-retest reliability outcomes started.

Ages & Stages Questionnaires®: Social-Emotional, Second Edition (ASQ®:SE-2) is published. Several changes align ASQ:SE-2 with ASQ-3 including a new 2 month questionnaire, monitoring zone, and parent engagement materials. Additional changes include a new standardization sample, revised cut-off scores, and an improved Spanish translation.

ASQ®:SE-2 French is published.

ASQ®:SE-2 Arabic is published.

Our research is ongoing. Data collection for the 4th edition of ASQ is expected to continue through 2020 followed by data analysis and final revisions. Learn how you can help with the research. By continuing to gather insights and data, we will ensure that ASQ questionnaires continue to be an accurate, effective, and family friendly tool for screening.



  • Children with Hands in the Air

    What ASQ Users are Saying

    “I like the ASQ:SE, which is an easy non-threatening tool to use to assess important social-emotional developmental milestones of the baby…. This tool lends itself well to developing educational activities to foster a healthy parenting relationship.”

    Cynthia Suire, MSN, RN, Nurse–Family Partnership Program Louisiana Office of Public Health