Universal, community-based developmental screening tools for children 6 years and younger: a review of clinical effectiveness

Boudreau R, Banks R
Record ID 32011001241
Authors' recommendations: Two common factors used to assess validity of a screening tool are sensitivity and specificity of the screening instrument. There are no universal levels of sensitivity or specificity that can be used to determine whether a screening tool is acceptable. In the included studies, there was much variability in the sensitivity and specificity. Given the heterogeneity of studies included, no reliable conclusions regarding the sensitivity and specificity can be made for any specific developmental screening tool.Another valuable measure is the over-referral and under-referral rates that result from the administration of the screening instrument. This was calculated for one study, however, the decision as to whether the rate is considered acceptable is subjective.No studies addressed the possibility of the developmental screening tool impacting the child’s health-related quality of life. No studies were identified that addressed cultural adaptability.There is currently insufficient evidence that can be used to reliably estimate whether universal, community-based developmental screening tools for children aged 0 to 6 years are effective in detecting children at risk for disabilities that would be otherwise missed in the system, whether they cause over-referrals (due to false positives), whether they can affect the health-related quality of life of the child, and whether it is culturally adaptable in Canadian populations.
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 2009
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: Canada
MeSH Terms
  • Child
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive
  • Child, Preschool
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mass Screening
Organisation Name: Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health
Contact Address: 600-865 Carling Avenue, Ottawa, ON K1S 5S8 Canada. Tel: +1 613 226 2553; Fax: +1 613 226 5392;
Contact Name: requests@cadth.ca
Contact Email: requests@cadth.ca
Copyright: Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH)
This is a bibliographic record of a published health technology assessment from a member of INAHTA or other HTA producer. No evaluation of the quality of this assessment has been made for the HTA database.