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Three Complementary Community-Based Approaches to the Early Identification of Young Children at Risk for Developmental Delays/Disorders

Goelman, Hillel PhDThe CHILD Project

doi: 10.1097/01.IYC.0000336543.45003.0e

This article discusses 3 complementary approaches to the identification of young children at risk for developmental delays. The first is a longitudinal follow-up program that targets and tracks the development of infants admitted to neonatal intensive care units. The second approach is designed to identify children with neuromotor delays from birth to 36 months by testing the validity of a new screening measure and comparing traditional and online instructional techniques to teach professionals how to use the instrument. The third approach is a community-based, universal, developmental screening project that also examines the impact of this project on the community's capacity for early identification and intervention with young children. The article reports on the goals, objectives, research questions, methodology, and early results of these 3 approaches. These approaches are part of a larger collaborative interdisciplinary, ecological, community/university research initiative studying early child development in British Columbia, Canada. Drawing on a wide range of university-based health, medical, and social science researchers working in close collaboration with community-based early intervention programs, the article discusses the 3 approaches as points along a continuum of longitudinal follow-up, targeted, and universal screening early identification programs and also examines the “value added” of conducting these studies under the umbrella of one overall program of research. On the basis of the findings of the 3 studies, we propose an integrated framework for the surveillance, screening, and early identification of young children.

The University of British Columbia, The University of Victoria, Children's and Women's Medical Centre of British Columbia, British Columbia Centre for Ability, Public Health Nursing, Fraser Health Authority, and Infant Development Programs of British Columbia, Canada.

Corresponding Author: Hillel Goelman, PhD, Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP), 320-2206 East Mall, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z4 (

The CHILD Project is an interdisciplinary, collaborative research initiative that includes academic researchers from 5 universities in British Columbia and Alberta, Canada; community professionals from across British Columbia; and students at all of the participating universities. This article reflects the collaborative work and spirit of this 5-year initiative. The Project Director and principal author of this article is Dr Hillel Goelman of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia. The Project coinvestigators, collaborators, and coauthors of this article are listed here in alphabetical order: Susan Anstett (Chilliwack Early Screening Community Consultant), Catherine Backman (University of British Columbia), Dana Brynelsen (Infant Development Programs of British Columbia), Dianne Cameron (Centre for Ability), Connie Canam (University of British Columbia), Susan Dahinten (University of British Columbia), Laurie Ford (University of British Columbia), Margaret Gander (Preventive Pubic Health Northern Health Authority), Michaela Gummerum (University of British Columbia), Susan R. Harris (University of British Columbia), Virginia Hayes (University of Victoria), Jill Houbé (University of British Columbia), Anne Klassen (University of British Columbia), Tanja Mayson (Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children, Children's and Women's Health Centre of British Columbia), Carla Merkel (University of British Columbia), Maria J. Pighini (University of British Columbia), Jayne Pivik (University of British Columbia), Brenda Poon (University of British Columbia), Anat Scher (Haifa University), Anne Synnes (University of British Columbia), Megan Tardif (University of British Columbia), and Lillian Tse (Vancouver Coastal Health Authority).

The research reported in this article was supported by a Major Collaborative Research Initiatives Program grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada # 412-2002-1006.

©2008Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.