First Chance is now offering eligible families free Developmental ASQ (Ages and Stages Questionnaire) Screening Kits for children ages 0-5 years.
Is my child on track?
Parenting during a pandemic may leave you feeling more uncertain if your child is staying on track with their development. You’re not alone. Many parents are wondering, Is my baby’s behavior normal? What is normal?! Does my toddler move and talk like other children their age? What can I do to support my child’s growth?
First Chance is here to support you as your child’s first and and most important teacher. We can help you to feel more confident as a parent, learn more about your child’s growth, know what to expect at each stage of development, and give you a plan of action to help your child grow up healthy and arrive at school ready to learn and succeed.
One of the ways that First Chance can help is through providing parents and caregivers – including grandparents, foster parents, guardians, etc – with the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ). We have provided this developmental screening tool to families for years as an integral part of early childhood education. Every local family with a young child from 1 month to 66 months (5 years) may receive the questionnaire, activity pages, and support to help meet their child’s needs. What’s new this year is that we have been awarded funding through the City of Columbia to give eligible families a full kit of supplies needed to complete the ASQ at home while supplies last.
What is the ASQ?
ASQ stands for Ages and Stages Questionnaire. The ASQ is a developmental screening tool that gives a snapshot of how your child is doing in important areas, such as communication, physical ability, social skills, and problem-solving skills. The ASQ can help identify your child’s strengths as well as any areas where your child may need support. To complete the ASQ, families need access to certain supplies such as a ball, spoon, a drinking cup, and child-safe scissors. The kits help low-income families in the City of Columbia have easier access to all of these supplies.
What do the ASQ Screening Kits include?
The ASQ screening kits include an age-based questionnaire, activity pages, resources, and supplies. The supplies in the kit include a book, small plastic ball, construction paper, crayons, set of wooden blocks, small toy, screw-top plastic jar, spoon, drinking cup, shoelace, bottle of water, cheese crackers, and Cheerios. Children age 2-5 will additionally receive a large inflatable ball, child-safe scissors, coloring book, fork, set of large lacing beads, toothbrush, and puzzle.
Who qualifies for the ASQ Screening Kits?
The ASQ Screening Kits are for children between the ages of 1 month – 66 months (5-1/2years). To receive the full kit of supplies, you must answer YES to these questions:
- Do you live in the Columbia city limits?
- Is your household income at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines?
If you are eligible for WIC or free/reduced price lunches, you qualify! Here’s a chart to help:
How do I pick up the ASQ kit for my child?
Eligible families may pick up the ASQ kits at the First Chance office (1002 Fay St, Columbia MO) on weekdays 9am-3pm. You will be asked to complete a family enrollment form and staff will verify that you meet the qualifications.
What if I don’t qualify for the ASQ kit?
All families who are interested, no matter how much you make or where you live, can receive the screening questionnaire and activity pages for each child from age 1 month to 5 years/ 66 months. If you need supplies, you may borrow the ASQ Toy Set or request needed items from the Lend & Learn Toy Library to help complete the ASQ questionnaire.
How do I do the ASQ?
Our team will help provide you with the right ASQ for your child’s age. It only takes about 10-15 minutes to complete. You will answer each question “yes,” “sometimes,” or “not yet,” based on what your child is able to do now. Your answers help show your child’s strengths and areas where they may need practice.
To answer each question, you can try fun and simple activities with your child. These activities encourage your child to play, move around, and practice day-to-day skills.
Once you’ve completed the ASQ, you can drop off your questionnaire at Lend and Learn (1002 Fay St, Columbia). Our staff will score the ASQ and follow up with you to share the results.
How do I make the ASQ fun and enjoyable for my child?
Take your time. You don’t have to go through every question and activity at one time. You don’t even have to do the questions in order. Some of the questions you will already know the answers to. There will be skills you want to introduce to your child, practice, or try again later. That’s okay! Take your time and see each question as a learning opportunity for your child.
The screening is a snapshot in time. It’s not a pass/fail test or a final grade. You are simply exploring and discovering what they are doing now, and what they aren’t doing…YET. Each child develops the skills in their own time. Be patient with your child. If they are not meeting a typical milestone, don’t panic. They may need some extra help, and there are fantastic resources available to help them learn and grow with support.
Make it fun! Completing the screening questionnaire doesn’t need to be serious. Make it playful and fun, a time to interact and bond with your child. If they aren’t in the mood to cooperate, skip it and have a dance party together instead! You can always try again later.
What happens after I complete the ASQ?
We welcome the chance to talk with you about the results of your child’s screening and share activities, strategies, and resources to help you with the next steps. Once you’ve completed the ASQ, you can drop off your questionnaire at Lend and Learn (1002 Fay St, Columbia). Our staff will score the ASQ and follow up with you to share the results.
Our staff can support you in a variety of ways:
We can schedule a time with you and your child to do the screening at our Lend & Learn play space or at your home.
We can answer your questions about the screening.
We can talk about your child’s results.
We can give you resources and referrals for help with your child’s development.
Who do I contact if I have questions?
Charity Quinn, Lend & Learn Coordinator
What are some helpful resources to learn about my child’s growth and development?
You can make an appointment to talk with your child’s doctor about the screening results.
Parents as Teachers (573) 214-3955
For children 0-3, Parents as Teachers offers screenings, in-home visitation, parent support, child development information, resources, and parent-child activities.
Columbia Public Schools (573) 214-3585
For children 3-5, Columbia Public Schools provides an early childhood education screening, educational support services, and educational resources.
Missouri First Steps 1-866-583-2392
First Steps is Missouri’s Early Intervention system that provides services to families with children from birth to three years of age with disabilities or developmental delays.
ParentLink 1-800-552-8522 or call locally: (573) 882-7323
Parent Link has a Warm Line where caregivers can visit with professionals who can assist with parenting concerns. ParentLink Loan Library, web resources, and referral info.
CDC Milestones https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/index.html
Online information about child development, referrals, and free tools including a Milestones Tracker App.
Zero to Three https://www.zerotothree.org/
Online practical resources to help parents support their child’s healthy development.