In Gaston and Lincoln counties the Assuring Better Child Health & Development (ABCD) Program advocates for children birth-5 years old to receive developmental and behavioral screenings at their well child check-ups. The ABCD Program operates with a Smart Start grant from the Partnership for Children of Lincoln and Gaston Counties.
Kathy Hudson, ABCD Coordinator for Gaston/Lincoln counties, works with pediatric and family practices in the Community Health Partners network, educating them on the use of proper developmental and behavioral screening tools and processes.
“All children need to be screened, early and regularly,” Hudson said. “Some of our young children may have a disability, a developmental delay or may be at risk for these. You can’t always look at a child and just assume they are developing normally without asking their primary caregivers (parents) a few questions about their developmental progress.”
One developmental screening tool is called the ASQ3, (Ages & Stages Questionnaire, 3rd Edition). This is a parent/primary caregiver completed questionnaire. If you are not asked to complete one, find out why it is not being offered. For children receiving N.C. Medicaid, it is a mandatory component of the well child exam.
Recently 25 ASQ3 Starter Kits were purchased for family practices in the Community Health Partners (CHP) network that have not updated to the new version.
When a possible delay is identified from the screening, Hudson instructs medical practices to make referrals immediately. Children ages birth up to age 3 are referred to the Children’s Developmental Services Agency. Children ages 3-5 years are referred to the Preschool Exceptional Children’s Program of the county school system in the child’s county of residence. Children will be evaluated to see if they qualify for early intervention services.
There is also screening for Autism. The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT), which is also a N.C. Medicaid required screening at the 18- and 24-month well child visit.
For more information contact Kathy Hudson at 704-874-1932 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Want to learn more about the Partnership for Children of Lincoln & Gaston Counties?
The Partnership for Children of Lincoln & Gaston Counties is your local Smart Start agency. You can reach us at 704-922-0900 or visit us online at www.pfclg.com. Our vision is a community where young children will reach their health and educational potential.
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Amy Wadsworth is public information coordinator for the Partnership for Children of Lincoln & Gaston Counties.