Validation of a culturally adapted developmental screening tool for Australian Aboriginal children: Early findings and next steps

Samantha Simpson, Anita D'Aprano, Collette Tayler, Siek Toon Khoo, Roxanne Highfold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Early detection of developmental problems isimportant for facilitating access to targeted intervention and maximising itspositive effects. The later problems are identified, the more likely that theywill become increasingly difficult to ameliorate. Standardised developmentalscreening tools are known to improve detection rates of developmental problemscompared to clinical judgement alone and are widely recommended for use withall children. The Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ-3) is a tool that iswidely used in Australia. However, mainstream screening tools may not beappropriate for remote-dwelling Australian Aboriginal children. WhileAustralian Aboriginal children face multiple developmental risk factors, thereare no developmental screening tools that have been validated for use in thispopulation.

Aims: To determine the concurrent validity of the culturallyadapted ASQ-3 – the ASQ-TRAK – for Australian Aboriginal children compared tothe Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development (Bayley-III), astandardised, professionally administered developmental assessment. SubjectsThe ASQ-TRAK and Bayley-III were administered cross-sectionally to 67 CentralAustralian Aboriginal children between 2 and 36 months of age.

Results: The ASQ-TRAK communication, gross motor, fine motorand problem-solving domains and the corresponding domains on the Bayley-IIIwere moderately correlated. Overall sensitivity for the ASQ-TRAK was 71% (95%CI 29–96) and specificity was 92% (95% CI 88–99). Percentage agreement betweenthe ASQ-TRAK and the Bayley-III was 90%.

Conclusions: The ASQ-TRAK shows promise as a tool that canbe used to improve developmental monitoring for remote dwelling AustralianAboriginal children. Further research is necessary to build on the currentfindings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-95
Number of pages5
JournalEarly Human Development
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


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