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Nearly a decade ago a Bullitt County mother, Donna, was concerned about her 18-month-old daughter’s speech development and called First Steps, an early intervention provider for children under the age of 3. They didn’t detect enough developmental delay for their services, but did refer her to Metro United Way’s Ages & Stages Questionnaires (ASQ) program for continued monitoring and developmental support.
ASQ is a free childhood developmental tool that is a series of questionnaires for children 0-6 which makes it easy for parents to understand how their child is developing. It identifies strengths and provides activities to help children as they continue to learn. If a child needs assistance in a particular area, parents receive information about resources and support that can assist them.
“Anytime I hear someone mention something concerning about their child, I still, to this day, send them to the Metro United Way and this program,” Donna said.
After completing the first ASQ questionnaire with her daughter, Donna was provided with activities to strengthen her daughter’s communication skills and was reassured that Metro United Way would continue to monitor her with additional screenings and support. She decided to also enroll her other child, 3-year-old David.
David’s first questionnaire results raised concerns about his social-emotional development. Donna discussed with a Metro United Way staff member that she believed some of his behavior was stemming from the recent death of his father. She received information for grief counseling and other resources, along with a referral to her pediatrician for further evaluation.
“It really does gives you a mix of peace of mind and it kind of arms you with information,” Donna noted. “At that point, it was just me … and it was a great tool to provide the information you needed to best advocate for your child along the way.”
Through this evaluation, multiple issues were discovered. Sleep apnea was causing David to stop breathing several times a night, so his tonsils and adenoids were removed to correct this condition. He was also diagnosed with ADHD, turrets and anxiety disorder, but he needed to be cleared by a cardiologist prior to taking medication due to a heart murmur; the cardiologist completed a heart catheterization procedure to resolve this issue just before he turned five years old.
Today, David is a middle school student who enjoys soccer, hanging out with friends and playing video games. Donna credits the ASQ program and the caring Metro United Way specialists for helping save his life and ensuring he received the care he needed to help him succeed in life.
“I’ve probably told dozens of other people to do this, any of my close friends who have had any concerns along the way have also participated in the program too,” Donna said with a laugh. “What it does really well is, for the kids that are iffy or even the ones who are doing well, it gives you peace of mind that you are going on the right track with things.”