A look at ages and stages

The Ages and Stages Questionnaire is a set of questions about children's development and is available in Vernon on Oct. 4

The Ages and Stages Questionnaire is for all kids under six, like Kaleb Manton, here enjoying the pumpkin patch.

The Ages and Stages Questionnaire is for all kids under six, like Kaleb Manton, here enjoying the pumpkin patch.

The Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ3) Screening Day is for children under six years of age.

ASQ-3 is a set of questionnaires about children’s development that has been used for more than 20 years to make sure children are developing well. It is called a screener because it looks at how children are doing in important areas, such as speech, physical ability, social skills and problem-solving skills. ASQ-3 can help identify your child’s strengths as well as any areas where your child may need support.

As a parent or caregiver, you are the best source of information about your child. That’s why ASQ-3 questionnaires are designed to be filled out by you. You will only need 10 to 15 minutes. It’s that quick and easy.

In infancy, the ASQ is administered by public health nursing at the health unit. We have also been able to train many other community members such as child care providers and foster parents. Our goal is that every child under six is screened three or more times and that the ASQ screening is valued by parents in the same way as medical check-ups or immunization. We are planning a number of ASQ clinics in the community and are encouraging parents to attend with their children.

The first clinic will be held Saturday at The Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs, Vernon, 3300-37th Ave. No appointment is necessary – just drop-in between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. If the screening shows concerns about your child’s development, suggestions will be given about activities that you can do at home or if needed, referrals can be made to the appropriate services in the community.

The ASQ is a developmental check-up for everyone! Watch for our posters throughout the community.

The North Okanagan Early Years Screening Project is an initiative with The North Okanagan Early Years Council, formerly the North Okanagan Early Childhood Development Coalition, and has been in Vernon for more than 10 years.

We are a coalition of stakeholders concerned with ensuring that our North Okanagan communities are the best places to raise young children. We know that the first five years of life are the time of greatest brain development and  a critical time for setting a strong foundation for everything that happens later. Our members include representation from Interior Health, municipal government, School Districts 22 and 83, non-profit organizations, faith groups, aboriginal and newcomer communities, business and parents. Positive outcomes for young children are important to every sector in the North Okanagan. Researchers at UBC and many other academic institutions, boards of trade and early childhood development specialists all understand that the return on investment in the early years is huge.

Our council has made a commitment to ensuring that parents have support to do the job of raising healthy, happy children. We also want to ensure that any challenges or barriers to their healthy development are addressed. Early identification of potential problems and early intervention to address those potential problems is essential. Small problems addressed early can prevent larger problems.

C. Lynne Reside is early years community development coordinator, North Okanagan Early Years Council.

 

Vernon Morning Star

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