BACKGROUND: Parent-completed tools like the Ages and Stages Questionnaire Third Edition (ASQ-3) are important in developmental screening. As a screening tool, a high negative predictive value (NPV) is critical to avoid missing the diagnosis of developmental delay. This study evaluated the NPV and accuracy of the ASQ-3 in assessing the development of preterm infants.
METHODS: Infants born at <32 weeks and/or <1250 grams, presented to the Neonatal Neurodevelopmental Clinic at the Singapore General Hospital for follow-up from January 2014 –June 2017, at 6, 12, and 18 months corrected age, were included. The ASQ-3 and standardized tests –Peabody Developmental Motor Scale –Second Edition (PDMS-2) and Preschool Language Scale, Fourth Edition UK (PLS-4 UK) –were administered. ASQ-3 gross motor and fine motor scores were compared to PDMS-2 at 6 and 12 months, and ASQ-3 communication scores to PLS-4 UK at 18 months.
RESULTS: At 6 months (n = 145), NPV for gross motor and fine motor were 96.4% (accuracy 80.0%) and 95.4% (accuracy 77.2%) respectively. At 12 months (n = 127), NPV for gross motor and fine motor were 88.9% (accuracy 79.8%) and 82.8% (accuracy 74.0%) respectively. At 18 months (n = 113), NPV for language was 56.9% (accuracy 63.7%).
CONCLUSIONS: The ASQ-3 showed high NPV and accuracy in screening gross motor and fine motor skills at 6 and 12 months, but not in screening language skills at 18 months. Judicious use of the ASQ-3 may allow for more effective utilization of resources.