Screening for developmental delay in preschool-aged children using parent-completed Ages and Stages Questionnaires: additional insights into child development

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BackgroundDevelopmental delay is a delay in areas of speech, language, motor, social and cognitive development. Because of the negative impact of intellectual and learning disabilities, early identification of children with developmental and behavioral problems using appropriate screening tests is crucial.ObjectivesUtilization of parent-completed Ages and Stages Questionnaires (ASQs) for detecting the developmental delay in preschool age children and clarification of possible associated risk factors.Materials and methodsThis cross-sectional study was conducted on 1012 children aged 24–60 months enrolled from six centers (n=608) and six villages (n=404) located in Menoufia Governorate, Egypt. All children were screened by nine age-based questionnaires in the first stage of assessment. Children whose scores were ≤ cut-off points in one or more of the screened developmental areas were considered to have suspected developmental delay (SDD) and underwent further evaluation in the second stage assessment.ResultsAmong the 1012 studied children aged 24–60 months, 978 (96.4%) had normal development. SDD had an overall prevalence of 3.4%, with the highest rates of SDD in problem-solving (3%), followed by communication (2.4%), fine motor skills (2.2%) and social–personal domain (1%), with no SDD in gross motor skills. SDD was more commonly observed in boys, with a significant association with both parental education and consanguinity. Problems with learning (32.3%) was the most commonly observed provisional diagnosis, followed by language disorders (29.4%). Children with SDD in more than one area of ASQ skills also had mild to borderline IQ scores.ConclusionThe use of of parent-completed ASQs showed an overall prevalence of developmental delay in children aged 24–60 months of3.4%. Male gender, consanguinity and parental education were identified as risk factors for developmental delay. Family counselling about the child’s developmental state is needed.

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