Introduction Link

On Track - Section 8 in PDF

Screening Tools and Programs used in Ontario

Things to consider before screening

Before using a screening tool, a professional must consider:

  • Are you qualified to administer this screen?
  • Do you know how to follow up after screening, should a concern be identified?
  • What level of confidentiality will be used when screening? How will this level of confidentiality be ensured?
  • Where and when will the screening take place?
  • Are there any cultural implications to consider when applying the screening? Please see “Cultural Sensitivity When Working with Families” in section 2 and section 6 of this guide.
  • Do you know how to discuss sensitive issues with families related to using the screening tool and reporting the results? Please refer to “How to talk with parents about sensitive issues” in section 6 of this guide.
  • Is the screening tool valid, reliable and accurate?
  • Is it free of bias and is it non-discriminatory?
  • Is it easy to administer?
  • Is it cost-effective?

Regardless of the results of screening or assessment, children and families should be assisted in accessing appropriate community supports, resources and information.

Some of the tools listed in the table are restricted to use by professionals who have specific training and qualifications.

Screening Tools Used In Ontario

Tool Focus Age Range General Description
AIMS - Alberta Infant Motor Scale

Available in English
Motor Development Infants between 4 and 18 months Identification of motor delays in four positions: supine, prone, sitting and standing
ASQ - Ages and Stages Questionnaire®

Available in English, French, some ages available in Korean
Gross Motor
Fine Motor
Personal Social Skills
4 months - 60 months The ASQ can be use for two purposes:
  • as a level screening tool to identify infants and children that may require further assessment
  • as a monitoring tool to gauge the development of children who are at risk for developmental disabilities or delays
Blind -Low Vision Early Intervention Program Vision Birth to Grade 1 The purpose is to identify children who are not meeting developmental milestones that mark early vision development and refer them for further assessment by a physician or licensed optometrist before their first birthday. If any vision concerns are present the child should be seen as soon as possible.
CHAT - Checklist for Autism in Toddlers Autistic Spectrum Disorders 18 - 24 months To detect children at risk for social communication disorders and autistic spectrum disorders.
M-CHAT - Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers

Available in English, Spanish
Autistic Spectrum Disorders 16 - 30 months To detect children at risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders.

For both checklists, if a child is identified as at-risk he should be referred to Early Intervention Services or Preschool Speech and Language
Communication Check-list

Available in English, French and 16 other languages
Language and Communication 6 months to 4 years A checklist developed by Toronto Public Health Speech and Language Services.
Primary caregivers can use this checklist to help them decide if their child needs help with speech and language.
Dental Screening Dental and Oral Health 6 months to 18 years Dental screening is a visual inspection by a dental hygienist to see if an obvious dental condition exists and to identify children at risk for Early Childhood Tooth Decay.
Dental Screening Tool

Available in English
Dental and Oral Health 18 - 36 months Early identification of children at risk for or having dental caries.
To help monitor a child’s dental development. It also provides dental care and hygiene tips.
Infant Hearing Program Hearing
Uses DPOAE - Automated Distortion Product Otoacoustic Emissions or
AABR - Automated Auditory Brainstem Response
Birth to 4 months To identify significant hearing loss in neonatal and infant population. Children who score “refer” on the second newborn screen are sent to audiology (at no charge) for diagnostics. Children identified as having risk factors for hearing loss are monitored up to 30 months.
E.R.I.K. - Early Referral Identification Kit

Available in English
Speech, language and early literacy (including motor speech, articulation, stuttering and voice disorders or delays)
Fine and gross motor skills
Cognitive skills
Social skills
Feeding skills
Sensory development

6 months to 4 years A developmental screening tool to promote early identification of children at risk for developmental delays. If a child is identified a referral to Early Intervention Services, Preschool Speech and Language Program and other services is warranted.
EPDS - Edinburgh Post Partum Depression Scale Post Partum Mood Disorders (PPMD) and/or depression in pregnancy Prenatal and postnatal mothers, fathers, adoptive parents, and parents of toddlers Widely used scale to screen and identify women experiencing postpartum depression and anxiety as well as depression during pregnancy
NDDS - Nipissing District Developmental Screen

Available in English, French and some other languages
Cognitive skills
Communication, speech and language
Fine and gross motor skills
Social/emotional skills
Self-help skills
1 months - 6 years NDDS is a universal, developmental, parent-completed checklist designed that covers vision, hearing, and communication, gross and fine motor, cognitive, social/emotional, and self-help. The tool assists parents, health care and child care professionals with a convenient and easy-to-use method of recording the development and progress of infants and children within certain age groupings.
The screens coincide with immunization schedules as well as key developmental stages up to age six and are the preferred parent tool for use at the enhanced 18-months well baby visit.
Age appropriate activities accompany the screens and are designed to promote overall development.
Ontario Newborn Screening Program

Fact sheets available in English, French and nine other languages
Using the Newborn Screening Test
1 - 7 days Ontario Newborn Screening Program (ONSP) offers screening for serious diseases to all babies born in Ontario. Early identification of these diseases allows treatment that may prevent growth problems, health problems, mental retardation, and sudden infant death. Currently the tool screens for 25 different diseases.
Please see the website for detailed information.
NutriSTEP® - Nutrition Screening Tool for Every Preschooler

Available in English, French some other languages
Feeding and Swallowing
3 - 5 years To identify preschool
children at nutritional risk.
Topics include: food and nutrient
intake; physical growth; developmental and
physical capabilities; physical activity;
family food and eating preferences;
parental concerns; nutrition knowledge,
beliefs and practices; food security
and the feeding environment.
Parents of children identified as at risk should to talk a registered dietitian or their child's doctor
Parkyn Tool
Healthy Babies Healthy Children (HBHC) postpartum screening tool

Available in English
Developmental factors
Congenital or acquired health challenges, family health and social factors
Postpartum women and infants As part of HBHC program, newborns and their families are screened for risk factors associated with poor child developmental outcomes. The families and newborns at risk can be followed up by a public health nurse for further assessment. The purpose of the screen is to identify families who may benefit from more comprehensive home visiting services.
REEL-3 - Receptive, Expressive, Emergent Language Test - Third Edition

Available in English
Language Birth to 3 years Screens receptive language (the child’s language comprehension) and expressive language (the child’s verbal communication).
Rourke Baby Record

Available in English and French
Health and Development Birth to 5 years Is a screening tool used by family physicians and paediatricians to assess a child’s development.
It has been used since 1979 and was most recently revised in 2009.
It provides evidence based growth and development parameters and supports education of the child’s care providers through the physician.
RUCS - Routine Universal Comprehensive Screening Research

Available in English
Women Abuse All females Using the universal comprehensive screening approach avoids stigmatization of abused women. RUCS is effective in achieving early identification and intervention.

Another language screening tool is the Language Use Inventory (LUI).