Valley of the Sun United Way offers free online developmental screening through June

Valley of the Sun United Way (VSUW) is providing free online developmental screenings throughout the month of June, available statewide, in Spanish and English.

The Ages and Stages Questionnaire© (ASQ-3), distributed by Brookes Publishing, is a tool for parents and families to keep track of their children’s developmental milestones. The questionnaire focuses on five developmental areas to pinpoint areas where children may need extra support. The five focus areas include fine and gross motor skills, communication skills, problem solving skills and personal-social skills.

The screening begins by asking the child’s birthdate, which generates questions tailored to the child’s age. The ASQ-3 is designed to be easy to take, with questions written at about a fourth grade level and answers as simple as “yes,” “no,” or “not yet.”

Once families complete the ASQ, VSUW sends a detailed letter to explain the results of the screening. From there, VSUW recommends that families visit their pediatrician to discuss the child’s progress. VSUW provides activity sheets as well as various community resources, including doctors and pediatricians, to supplement any milestones not fully reached.

“There really is no ‘100%,’” said Dawn Gerundo, the community impact director at VSUW. “You can always have a ‘not yet.’ It’s designed for some things to be ‘not yet.’ It’s something that can be assessed the next time around.” 

VSUW recommends that families take the ASQ every three months from birth to 18 months of age, and every six months after that.

Originally only available within Maricopa County, VSUW is now able to provide the ASQ to families all across Arizona through a grant.

“We have been able to reach some families that are in some very rural areas and I think that it speaks volumes to the lack of resources and services that are outside of Maricopa County,” said Angela Bryant, community impact director of VSUW. “That really informed us about how important this is, especially to those who don’t have access to a lot of resources and services within their community.”

The expansion was in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns about social-emotional development milestones not being met due to social distancing recommendations.

“Families are now playing a heavier role in their child’s development because they don’t have child care centers or child care providers, so they need to affirm that what they’re doing is right,” said Gerundo. “It’s acknowledging parents for what they are. They do so much good, but not always do they get to hear that or even know if what they’re doing is right. That is so crucial and so important.”

Arizona PBS is proud to partner with VSUW to care for Arizona communities on behalf of children’s well being.

To take the ASQ, visit https://vsuw.org/asq.

For more resources for child development, visit Bright By Text

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