Did you know that you can check up on your child’s development in the same way that you can see to the dentist or optometrist for dental and vision check-ups?
There is a tool used by many early years professionals and public health nurses called the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) to help you check in on your child’s health and development. Ages and Stages is a tool that gives parents an opportunity to get a snapshot of their child’s growth and development at the age that they are at. It is an interactive, play-based questionnaire that parents can find at a growing number of locations throughout the West Kootenays. Parents can complete the questionnaire together with an early years professional; such as an Early Childhood Educator, public health nurse, or another family service provider who has been trained to administer the ASQ.
Why would a parent use the ASQ?
According to Christy Anderson, the Executive Director of the Family Action Network and parent of two young children: “Because all parents have questions about how their child is growing and developing – is what I am seeing normal? Is my child developing the same way as other children the same age? This tool gives parents real time info and if they find they need additional supports, they are able to get information on those supports, right there during the appointment. It helps to identify any little bumps and address them before they become bigger hurdles later on.”
The Family Action Network hosts several Ages and Stages Days in the Greater Trail area. Christy suggests that families can access the ASQ by requesting an appointment, or attending a community health fair, to check their child’s development. During an Ages and Stages appointment, parents answer questions from the questionnaire, have time to ask any questions that they may have and where possible, their child demonstrates their strengths and abilities through play – such as throwing a ball, stringing some beads etc.…
What if something comes up during the questionnaire?
Christy says “That does not mean that there something ‘wrong.’ All children grow and develop at their own pace. Sometimes it is only a matter of giving your child more opportunities to practice a certain skill. For example, did you know that starting at 36 months, children can be introduced to using child-safe scissors? If a little bump is detected, parents have the opportunity to learn about the activities they can do at home to encourage growth and development and learn about other community supports if they do need additional help. Parents can also chose to watch and wait and re-screen in a few months.”
There are a number of upcoming opportunities to learn more about or have an Ages and Stages appointment in our region:
Salmo Children’s Health Fair, Salmo Youth Centre Gym – Friday, October 20, 10:00 -1:00
Nelson Children’s Fair, Central School Building – Saturday, 10:00 – 1:00
For more information about how and why to check early, check often you can view the Family Action Networks ages and stages video at:
If you would set up an Ages and Stages appointment in your community, we can help! Call us at 1-866-551-KIDS (5437).