The Utility of Developmental Checklists in Parent-held Health Records in Singapore

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Abstract

Objective:

The aim of this study was to investigate parents' perceptions of developmental checklists and the child development monitoring schedule in the Singapore health booklet.

Method:

Parents of children aged 2 years 6 months to 3 years 11 months with or without developmental concerns (n = 450) completed a structured interview, and their child's health booklets were reviewed.

Results:

Most parents reported reading and using the developmental checklists. However, only about half of them attempted the checklists with minimal help from professionals. Approximately 7 in 10 parents of children with developmental concerns found the checklists useful for identifying concerns about their child. Despite positive feedback from parents about the checklists, only about 1 in 4 parents brought their child for a 2 to 3 years developmental monitoring visit at the time of the survey, and the completion rates of the checklists were less than desirable.

Conclusions:

Further revisions to the checklists can include simplifying the words and sentences and providing relevant pictures to aid understanding. If the checklists are to be used for screening, standardization of how the checklists are to be completed and how children at risk of developmental delays can be identified on the checklists need to be provided. Parents' awareness of the importance of evaluating their child's development at 9 months, 18 months, and particularly at 2.5 years, needs to be raised. Developmental screening for children at these critical ages can be made mandatory. An electronic version of the health booklet is likely to facilitate implementation of developmental screening in the health care system.

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