Publication

Use of the Ages and Stages Questionnaire Adapted for South Africa and Zambia

October 2016

There are few readily available, relatively easy to use and culturally adaptable developmental assessment tools for young children in southern Africa.

In the first years of life, critical developments occur in all domains, building the foundation for children’s competencies and later outcomes. In high-income countries, early cognitive and socio-emotional development are strong determinants of educational progress (Pianta and McCoy 1997), and early language and communication contribute to later socio-emotional competence (Prizant and Wetherby 1990). In middle and low income countries, there is a paucity of data on care, health and development children’s early development, contributing to the invisibility and lack of attention to the problems of poor earlydevelopment (Grantham-McGregor et al. 2007). A major contributor to lack of empirical evidence about early child development and relationships to later outcomes in southern Africa is limited access to standardized developmental assessment and screening tools, with most instrument designed and normed in Western countries. This has far-reaching consequences for identifying and supporting children with developmental difficulties and their families, for monitoring the effects of interventions and for estimating the national prevalence of developmental delays.