The ASQ-TRAK is a developmental screening tool for observing and monitoring the developmental progress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. In 2023, the ASQ-TRAK2 was developed and now includes all 21 age intervals between two months and 5 1/2 years.
It is based on the 21 questionnaires from the Ages & Stages Questionnaires®, 3rd edition – the ASQ®-3 – which were adapted, in partnership with community and in close collaboration with the ASQ®-3 authors, to create a more culturally appropriate version of the tool for Aboriginal children. More information about the ASQ®-3 is available on our FAQ page.
The ASQ-TRAK is an easy-to-use, family centred tool which highlights a child’s strengths as well as catching delays early. It is designed to be administered by interview, making caregivers co-observers in the process while supporting and teaching them about child development and their own child’s skills.
Hosted by the University of Melbourne, ASQ-TRAK is a non-commercial endeavour, with the core mission to improve equitable access to child development support. All revenue derived from kits or educational programs is reinvested to support development and delivery and secure the future of this program. We strive to improve reach and accessibility of the program and welcome innovative community partnership models.
We are working with our campus partner, The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, to distribute the ASQ-TRAK developmental screening tool and ASQ-TRAK Toy Kit to communities.
In collaboration with community, a number of modifications were made to the ASQ®-3 when developing the ASQ-TRAK:
It is designed to be administered by interview rather than caregivers self-completing a questionnaire. This encourages the caregiver and child to demonstrate each activity and provides opportunities to celebrate success.
ASQ-TRAK Toy Kit
Having the right toys and materials is an important part of administering the ASQ-TRAK. We understand ASQ-TRAK users' frustration at not being able to source toys or materials to make their own Toy Kit, especially in remote settings. Following increasing enquiries and requests, an ASQ-TRAK Toy Kit is available to buy through the Royal Children’s Hospital Shop. The Toy Kit contains 20 individual items that have been specially sourced to meet the requirements of ASQ-TRAK administration.
The ASQ®-3 (agesandstages.com) is a questionnaire-based developmental screening tool designed and developed in the USA for use by early childhood educators and health care professionals. It is widely used in many countries and is highly valid, reliable and accurate.
It can be parent-completed or used as part of an in-person or phone interview. It relies on parents and caregivers as experts and enables developmental delays to be captured early while also highlighting strengths.
“The validity of [the] ASQ®-3 has been studied more than any other screener. Psychometric studies based on a normative sample of more than 18,000 questionnaires show high reliability, internal consistency, sensitivity, and specificity. From ‘How reliable? We’ll let the data tell the story.)
Language and context have always been barriers to adopting mainstream practice in Aboriginal communities – but with modifications, we found we could use the ASQ®-3 questionnaires as the base for building a more culturally appropriate version of the tool for Australian Aboriginal children.
We selected and carefully studied seven questionnaires from the ASQ®-3 for adaptation, in collaboration with Aboriginal community members, cultural and linguistic experts, remote health practitioners and early childhood development experts in the Northern Territory.
Findings of the study informed the development of the ASQ-TRAK. For more information see our publication ‘Adaptation of the Ages & Stages Questionnaire for Remote Aboriginal Australia’ and a talk by founder, Dr Anita D’Aprano.
The 14 new age intervals that are part of the ASQ-TRAK2 did not undergo the same rigorous concurrent validation process that the original seven ASQ-TRAK questionnaires did. This is a time and resource intensive process that is not essential to duplicate for all age intervals. We will however be exploring face validity and internal consistency through using the tool with practitioners and families.
The ASQ®-3 consists of 21 questionnaires developed to measure children from 1 month to 5½ years. It is designed to be parent-administered or administered by interview.
Each questionnaire has 30 items grouped into five areas: communication, gross motor, fine motor, problem solving, and personal–social. They also include general health questions. For full details, visit www.agesandstages.com.
The ASQ-TRAK is based on the 21 ASQ®-3 questionnaires. A number of modifications were made. The ASQ-TRAK:
The screening ages – 2 months, 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, 24 months, 36 months and 48 months – align with routine ‘well-child checks’ undertaken in the Northern Territory (where the ASQ-TRAK was developed), which require developmental screening as part of the check.
The ASQ-TRAK kit includes a flip chart with colour illustrations for each of the questionnaires, for parents or caregivers to view during the ASQ-TRAK interview. This has been found to be a very valuable modification that acts to engage parents and caregivers in the process.
In 2023, the ASQ-TRAK2 was developed and now includes all 21 age intervals between two months and 5½ years.
The ASQ-TRAK is designed to be used in all settings in which the ASQ®-3 can be used. It can be used by:
It is not designed to be self-administered by parents and families, although they are encouraged to be actively involved in the interviews.
The ASQ-TRAK was available in the following languages:
The ASQ-TRAK2 is available in modified English.
The ASQ-TRAK developmental screening tool is sold through the Royal Children's Hospital Shop. Prices of the ASQ-TRAK and the ASQ-TRAK Toy Kit can be found at the RCH Shop.
An example of implementation in early education
The Northern Territory Department of Education has chosen the ASQ-TRAK as the most appropriate developmental screening tool for Aboriginal children in their Families as First Teachers (FaFT) program. Following a successful trial in four remote communities — Alekerange, Numbulwar, Yirrkala and Maningrida — the Department of Education has implemented the ASQ-TRAK in all FaFT sites in the Northern Territory.
"ASQ-TRAK developmental screening is well accepted by families who participate in the program, and provides opportunity for families and educators to celebrate child strengths. ASQ-TRAK also provides valuable information for FaFT educators to support child developmental needs through targeted program planning and early intervention."
Amanda Docksey, Director, Families as First Teachers program
An example of implementation in health
The ASQ-TRAK was trialled in urban, rural and remote sites by South Australia Health’s Child and Family Health Service (CaFHS). It is now used with Aboriginal children and caregivers in all CaFHS sites and also by the CaFHS nurses providing a visiting service to the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands. Aboriginal Cultural Consultants, Child Health Nurses and Early Childhood Intervention Coordinators deliver the screen alongside caregivers and their children.