A simple questionnaire developed at the University of Oregon and requiring no more than 15 minutes of a parents time before or after a doctors appointment is credited with a 224-percent increase in referrals of year-old and 2-year-old children with mild developmental delays in a yearlong study.
Researchers found that on doctors observations alone 53 of 78 referrals for special services or additional monitoring would not have been made without the Ages & Stages Questionnaires (ASQ) filled out by parents at home or in the office. Thirty-eight children underwent further evaluation and qualified for federally funded early intervention services, and 44 others became eligible for additional monitoring.
The study appeared in the August issue of the journal Pediatrics.
Seeing the results as a percentage was pretty shocking, said lead author Hollie Hix-Small, who this year earned a doctorate from the Early Intervention Program in the UO College of Education. She now is a UO research associate and an independent early childhood consultant.
The 224-percent jump in referrals occurred despite just a 54 percent return rate of the survey, which was given to 1,428 parents or caregivers, and a 15 percent decrease in patient volume in the newborn to 2-year-old range compared to the control (no ASQ screening) year. Almost certainly, the referral rate would have been higher had more forms been completed, said co-author Dr. Kevin Marks, a pediatrician at the PeaceHealth Medical Group in Eugene.
The study was about making quality improvements in health-care delivery, Marks said. We had intuitions that physicians had difficulty identifying children with mild developmental delays, especially in the fine motor, problem-solving and personal-social domains. Physicians focus mostly on milestones involving communication and gross motor skills. The data shows that when physicians suspect a delay, those children are almost always eligible for earl
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University of Oregon