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Developmental Screening Tools


Includes: ASQ (Ages and Stages Questionnaire), Denver Developmental Screening Test II (DDST-II), Early Screening Inventory-Revised (ESI-R), IDA (Infant Toddler Developmental Assessment), HELP (Hawaii Early Learning Profile), Carolina Curriculum for Infants and Toddlers, AEPS (Assessment Evaluation & Programming System), PLS (Preschool Language Scale), Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, Rossetti Infant-Toddler Language Scale, and Batelle Developmental Inventory.


PEDS: Developmental Milestones Measurements For Children 0-8 Years - A new measure called PEDS:Developmental Milestones (PEDS:DM) for children 0 - 8 years is now available for parents and professionals. The Screening Level version is in wide use by pediatricians but the PEDS:DM also has an Assessment Level version helpful for child-find, early intervention programs, and NICU follow-up.


Tools recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, click here.


For all other tools, click here.


Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ)
Diane Bricker, Ph.D. & Jane Squires, Ph.D.
Type: Developmental screening, 4-60 months

What is the purpose of this tool?
To screen for developmental delays in the first 5 years of life. It covers 5 developmental areas: communication, gross motor, fine motor, problem solving, and personal-social.


What is its appropriate use?
First-level comprehensive screening for developmental delays; monitoring the development of children considered "at risk" for developmental disability or delay resulting from medical or environmental factors. It may also be used to communicate to parents the stages of child development and the capabilities of their child.

What are the components?
It includes 30-item questionnaires completed by the parent or caregiver at specific ages. The first questionnaire is completed when child is 4 months old and the last at 60 months of age. To each developmental item parent responds "yes", "sometimes", or "not yet". Professionals convert items to point values and compute total scores. Available in Spanish.

Who can administer the scale?
It can be completed by parent self-report or by individual interview. Administration and scoring instructions come with scale set.

How long does it take to administer?
Approximately 10-20 minutes for parent response.

Is there information on reliability and validity?
Overall agreement on children's developmental classifications was 83% between the ASQ and professionally administered developmental scales, with a range of 76% to 91% agreement. Test-retest reliability was over 90% at a 2 to 3-week interval, and agreement of parents with trained examiners also exceeded 90% [1].

What are the advantages of this tool?
It is a low-cost method of doing periodic screening; it takes advantage of parental knowledge of the child; it can be adapted to a variety of environments.

What are the disadvantages?
It depends solely on parent report.


Where can I find more information?


Denver Developmental Screening Test II (DDST-II)
William K. Frankenburg & Josiah B. Dodds
Type: Developmental screening, 1 month - 6 years

What is the purpose of this tool?
To screen children from 1 month to 6 years of age for possible developmental problems, to confirm suspected problems with an objective measure, to monitor children at risk for developmental problems.

What is its appropriate use?
First-level screening of children's developmental status.

What are the components?
Performance-based and parent report items are used to screen children's development in four areas of functioning: fine motor-adaptive, gross motor, personal-social, and language skills. Child's exact age is calculated and marked on the score sheet. Scorer administers selected items based on where the age line intersects each functional area. The scorer can then determine if child's responses fall into or outside of the normal expected range of success on that item for the child's age. The number of items upon which the child scores below the expected age range determine whether the child is classified as within normal range, suspect, or delayed. Those with suspect scores are monitored by more frequent screening, while those with delayed scores are referred for further assessment. There is also a testing behavior observation filled out by the test administrator. Spanish version is available.

Who can administer the scale?
Trained paraprofessionals and professionals administer the test.

Is training available?
The test comes with a training video and proficiency test. Scorers should pass the proficiency test and practice testing children of different ages. A two-day workshop is offered in Denver to become a Master Instructor, who can then train others. Cost of the Master Instructor workshop is $395. The training video and item administration videos come as a training kit for $255. Contact the publisher for details.

How long does it take to administer?
Testing takes 10 to 20 minutes, on average.

Is there information on reliability and validity?
Test was normed on a sample of children who were full term and had no obvious developmental disabilities. The sample was diverse in terms of age, place of residence, ethnicity/cultural background and maternal education. The norms indicate when 25%, 50%, 75%, and 90% of children passed each item. The test has good inter-rater and test-retest reliability (correlations .90 or higher for most tests). Test has been found to have somewhat low sensitivity in predicting later developmental status and school readiness [2].

What are the advantages of this tool?
It is a standardized measure that has been normed on a diverse sample. It can be quickly administered by trained professional and paraprofessional staff.

What are the disadvantages?
Test has been criticized for lacking sensitivity in screening children who may have problems in later developmental status or school readiness.

How much does it cost?
The complete testing set is $75; training manual alone is $23. Training videos are available; see information under training.

Where can I get further information?
Denver Developmental Materials, Inc.
P.O. Box 371075
Denver, CO 80237-5075
(303) 355-4729
Fax (303) 355-5622
Web: www.denverii.com

Early Screening Inventory-Revised (ESI-R)
Samuel J. Meisels, Dorothea B, Marsden, Martha Stone Wiske, & Laura W. Henderson
Type: Developmental screening, 3-6 years

What is the purpose of this tool?
ESI-R is designed to be a brief developmental screening tool that accurately identifies children who may need special education services in order to perform successfully in school. It enables programs to quickly address any possible learning blocks, such as developmental delays, learning problems, or lack of school preparedness.

What is its appropriate use?
It is appropriate for use with children 3 to 6 years of age. It can be used in programs where it is advisable to identify early those children who are or might be at risk for school competency.

What are the components?
The test consists of performance-based items that test the child's capabilities in the areas of visual motor/adaptive, language, and cognitive development. Items are appropriate to the age range. Two-thirds of the items are administered at a table and the remainder are performed standing. Parents are present for the test administration and fill out Parent Questionnaire, which is used for supplementary information. There are two parts: the ESI-P for children, ages 3 to 4-1/2 years, and the ESI-K for ages 4-1/2 to 6 years. It has been normed with a culturally diverse sample and has been administered successfully to children from differing ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The inventory is available in Spanish.

Who can administer the scale?
Individuals who have some background in early childhood behavior and development can administer the scale, such as teachers, students of child development, school psychologists, or allied health professionals. Experienced paraprofessionals have also been successfully trained to administer the scale.

Is training available?
Training tapes and a manual are available from the publisher. After reading the manual and viewing the tapes, the trainee undergoes supervised practice. On-site training is also available through the publisher.

How long does it take to administer?
Administration takes 15-20 minutes.

Is there information on reliability and validity?
The inventory was standardized and validated on 6000 children, many of whom were enrolled in Head Start. Reliability data indicate that the inventory is a highly stable and consistent screening device. The test accurately identified 9 out of 10 students who were "at risk" of school problems and also correctly excluded most students who were not at risk from further assessments. This indicates that the tool has good sensitivity and specificity [1].

What are the advantages of this tool?
It focuses on abilities and does not make the parent or child feel that the child has "failed". It can be administered quickly.

What are the disadvantages?
Administrator needs background and experience in early childhood behavior and development.

How much does it cost?
The complete administration kit costs about $100; the training pack costs $75.

Where can I get further information?
Rebus, Inc., 4111 Jackson Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48103; 1-800-435-3085 or (734) 668-4870.


The following developmental screening tools for children 0-5 years of age have been recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics/Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. The Zero-to-Five Dissemination project has not reviewed these instruments in detail; therefore we recommend that you visit the organization's website or contact the publishers for additional information and references. The Society also publishes recommendations on tools for behavioral screening. The address for the AAP/Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics is www.dbpeds.org/articles/dbtesting/.

Bayley Neurodevelopmental Screen (BINS)
Age range:
3-24 months
Content: The test administrator assesses neurological processes (reflexes, tone), neurodevelopmental skills (movement, symmetry), developmental accomplishments (object permanence, imitation, language).
Method of administration: Direct observation
Source: The Psychological Corporation, 555 Academic Court, San Antonio, TX 78204; 1-800-228-0752; www.psychcorp.com

Age range:
21-90 months
Content: This performance-based test taps the areas of speech-language, motor, readiness and general knowledge among younger children; also addresses skills in reading and math among older children.
Source: Curriculum Associates, Inc., 153 Rangeway Road, PO Box 2001, North Billierica, MA 01862; 1-800-225-0248; www.curriculumassociates.com

Child Development Inventories or Child Development Review
Age range:
3-72 months
Content: Screens children's development in major developmental areas by parent report of child's behavior. Families complete the questionnaire by answering 6 open-ended questions and a 26-item possible-problems checklist to be completed by the parent, followed by 99 items crossing the 5 domains, which may be used by the professional as an observation guide or parent-interview guide.
Source: Child Development Review, Behavior Science Systems, Inc., Box 19512, Mpls., MN 55419-9998

Phone: 612-850-8700 Fax: 360-351-1374 Web: http://www.childdevelopmentreview.com/.


Child Development Review-Parent Questionnaire (CDR-PQ)

Age range: 18 months to 5 years
Parent-completed questionnaire; professional-completed child development chart measures social, self-help, motor, and language skills; 18 mo to 5 y; 6 open-ended questions and a 26-item possible-problems checklist to be completed by the parent, followed by 99 items crossing the 5 domains, which may be used by the professional as an observation guide or parent-interview guide; 10–20 min; Standardized with 220 children aged 3–4 y from primarily white, working class families in south St Paul, MN; sensitivity: 0.68 (low); specificity: 0.88 (moderate); Risk categorization; parents' responses to the 6 questions and problems checklist are classified as indicating (1) no problem; (2) a possible problem; or (3) a possible major problem; English and Spanish versions available.

Source: Behavior Science Systems Inc http://www.childdevrev.com/.

Infant Development Inventory (IDI)

Age range: 0-18 months
Parent-completed questionnaire; measures social, self-help, motor, and language skills; 0–18 mo; 4 open-ended questions followed by 87 items crossing the 5 domains; 5–10 min; Studied in 86 high-risk 8-mo-olds seen in a perinatal follow-up program and compared with the Bayley scales; sensitivity: 0.85 (moderate); specificity: 0.77 (moderate). Risk categorization; delayed or not delayed. English and Spanish versions available.

Source: Behavior Science Systems Inc http://www.childdevrev.com/.

Parents Evaluations of Developmental Status (PEDS)
Age range:
Birth - 8 years
Content: This is a guidance system and triage tool used to elicit parents' concerns about the child's development. Ten questions are used to identify most appropriate response to parental concerns, from immediate referral for assessment, a second screening, developmental guidance for parents, to monitoring or reassurance. It is best used in situations where there is little time and children are followed longitudinally.

Source: Ellsworth & Vandermeer Press, Ltd., PO Box 68164, Nashville, TN 37206; (615) 227-0411; www.pedstest.com

The Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills (ABLLS)
An invaluable resource, the ABLLS manual contains an actual assessment (protocol) that identifies a young learner’s skills and deficits. The initial scoring allows you to systematically determine intervention priorities and establish an individualized curriculum for each child. The second part of this two part package contains the ABLLS Scoring Instructions and IEP Development Guide. Once the assessment is complete, it can be used to outline an IEP and develop a baseline for working with children at their skill level. *Note that this is a 2 booklet set that comes with one protocol already included. Price: 59.95 USD; Soft Cover, 2 Volume Set by James W. Partington, PhD and Mark L. Sundberg, PhD. Ordering info can be found at http://www.difflearn.com.


The Bzoch-League Receptive-Expressive-Language Test (REEL-2), 2nd. Ed.

The REEL-2 is a scale designed for infants and toddlers up to 3 years of age. It measures and analyzes emergent language for intervention planning. Results are obtained from a parent interview and are given in terms of an Expressive Language Age, A Receptive Language Age, and a Combined Language Age. Available through Pro Ed, Inc. 8700 Shoal Creek Boulevard, Austin, Texas 78757-6897; (800) 897-3202 or on the web at http://www.proedinc.com.
[1] Contact publisher for technical information.
[2] See test manual for technical information.

(November, 2000) by Laura Bates, M.A. & Marguerite Barratt Ph.D., Institute for Children, Youth, & Families, 27 Kellogg Center, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, with Consortium for Applied Research on Child Abuse & Neglect (ARCAN) and Michigan Children's Trust Fund. Support for this project provided by: Michigan Children's Trust Fund; MSU Extension, Family Strengths & Food, Nutrition & Health; MSU University Outreach; MSU College of Human Ecology; and the Institute for Children, Youth & Families, MSU.


Comprehensive List of Childhood Developmental Tools


Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment
Ages and Stages Questionnaires
Ages and Stages Questionnaires: Social-Emotional
Assessment, Evaluation, and Programming System for Infants and Children
Batelle Development Inventory
Bayley Scale for Infant Development, Second Edition
Brigance Diagnostic Inventory of Early Development-Revised
Carey Temperament Scales
Carolina Curriculum for Infants and Toddlers with Special Needs Assessment Log II

Child Development Review
Denver II Development Screening Test
Developmental Observation Checklist System
Developmental Profile II
Devereux Early Childhood Assessment
Early Coping Inventory
Early Head Start Evaluation--Parent Interviews and Child Assessments
Early Learning Accomplishment Profile--Revised Edition
Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory/Sutter-Eyberg Student Behavior Inventory-Revised
Functional Emotional Assessment Scale
Hawaii Early Learning Profile
High/Scope Child Observation Record
High/Scope Child Observation Record for Infants and Toddlers
Humanics National Infant-Toddler Assessment
Infant-Toddler Developmental Assessment
Infant Toddler Social-Emotional Assessment
Infant Toddler Symptom Checklist
Leiter International Performance Scale-Revised
Macarthur Communicative Development Inventories
Mullen Scales of Early Learning
The Ounce Scale
Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, Third Edition
Preschool Language Scale
Receptive-Expressive Emergent Language Test--2nd Ed.
Rossetti Infant-Toddler Language Scale
Temperament and Atypical Behavior Scale
Test de Vocabulario en Imagenes Peabody
Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale
Vineland Social-Emotional Early Childhood Scales
Woodcock-Johnson III




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