The ASQ-TRAK: Validating a culturally adapted developmental screening tool for Australian Aboriginal children

Samantha Simpson, Tricia Eadie, Siek Toon Khoo, Angela Titmuss, Louise J. Maple-Brown, Regina Thompson, Alison Wunungmurra, Deepa Jeyaseelan, Marilyn Dunham, Anita D'Aprano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Developmental monitoring, performed using culturally relevant tools, is of critical importance for all young children. The ASQ-TRAK is the culturally and linguistically adapted Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ-3), a developmental screening tool, for Australian Aboriginal children. While the ASQ-TRAK has been well received in practice, investigating its psychometric properties will enable professionals to make informed decisions about its use. 

Aims: To conduct a rigorous validation study of the ASQ-TRAK by applying Kane's argument-based approach. 

Subjects: The ASQ-TRAK, Bayley-III and/or BDI-2 were administered cross-sectionally to 336 Australian Aboriginal children aged 2–48 months across ten participating sites in the Northern Territory and South Australia. A sample of staff and caregivers completed feedback surveys about the ASQ-TRAK. 

Results: ASQ-TRAK domain scores were moderately positively correlated with corresponding domain scores on the Bayley-III or BDI-2. Inter-rater and inter-instrument reliability were high. Sensitivity (83%), specificity (83%) and negative predictive value (99%) were acceptable. Staff and caregivers expressed high levels of satisfaction with the ASQ-TRAK. 

Conclusions: Regular developmental screening can provide important information about developmental vulnerability and the need for services. The ASQ-TRAK should be administered by trained Aboriginal community-based workers and the implementation approach carefully planned. Areas for future research include longitudinal follow-up of children, investigating existing norms and cut-off scores, and considering the appropriateness of the ASQ-TRAK with Aboriginal people from different locations. The ASQ-TRAK has the potential to fill an important gap by enabling better access to high-quality developmental monitoring and targeted early intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105481
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalEarly Human Development
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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