Screening Tools

Tool Selection Criteria

Factors to consider when selecting a screening tool:

History/Statistical Significance:

  • Highly Validated: The most critical criterion for any screening tool to meet. Must show sensitivity and specificity of 70% or better to be rated positively in this category.
  • Developmental screening tools use developmental milestones
  • Established tool: A screening tool should have been in use for at least two years and widely distributed throughout the U.S. and even internationally.
  • Peer Reviewed: A tool has been peer reviewed if it has been critiqued in a peer reviewed medical or psychiatric journal or other professional publication.
  • Recognized by a national organization

Ease of Use by Physician/Healthcare Provider:

  • Can be administered at all well visits, 12 to 36 months
  • Brief to fill out (under ten minutes)
  • Easy to score (under five minutes)
  • Parent report
  • Easy to explain to patient

Ease of Use by Parent/Caregiver:

  • Caregiver can fill out in under ten minutes
  • Written for fourth to sixth grade reading level
  • Available in other languages
  • Alternative methods of administration


  • Low cost to maintain

Tools Recommended by the DSC of VC

General Developmental Screening:

Ages and Stages Questionnaire, 3rd Edition (ASQ-III)

  • Uses parent information
  • Cost: $199 for each language, unlimited CD download
  • Time: 10-20 minutes for parents, 1-5 minutes for providers
  • Languages: English, Spanish, French, Korean
  • Age Range: 4 months – 5 years
  • Sensitivity 72%
  • Specificity 86%

Parents’ Evaluation of Developmental Status (PEDS)

  • Uses parental information
  • Cost: $60 for 100 survey forms and score sheets, then 30¢/survey
  • Time: 5 minutes for parents, 2 minutes for providers
  • Languages: English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Hmong, Somali, Chinese, and Malaysian; translations in additional languages, such as Arabic and Portuguese, are also available
  • Age Range: Birth to 9 years
  • Sensitivity 74-79%
  • Specificity 70-80% across age levels

Autism-Specific Screening:

Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers

  • Uses parental information
  • Cost: Free
  • Time: 5 minutes for parents, 1-2 minutes for providers
  • Languages: a number of languages including Spanish, Chinese, Korean
  • Age Range: 16-30 months
  • Sensitivity >90%
  • Specificity 80-90% across age levels

Funding and Training for Tools

Help Me Grow Ventura County offers:

  • Training on the use and scoring of screening tools including the ASQ-III, PEDS and M-CHAT
  • Funding for the cost of these screening tools

Please contact us for more information.

Referral Resources

In Ventura County, additional evaluation and assessment can be provided by:

Children ages 0-3

Early Start (Tri-Counties Regional Center)

For concerns related to a developmental delay or established risk condition:

2401 East Gonzales Road, Suite 100
Oxnard, CA 93036
(805) 485-3177 (800) 664-3177
FAX (805) 988-9521

Simi Valley
1900 E. Los Angeles Ave. Second Floor
Simi Valley, CA 93065
(805) 522-8030 (800) 517-2524
FAX (805) 522-8142

Children ages 3 and up:

Tri-Counties Regional Center

For concerns related to significant disabling conditions such as

  • autism
  • intellectual disabilities
  • cerebral palsy
  • epilepsy

2401 East Gonzales Road, Suite 100
Oxnard, CA 93036
(805) 485-3177 (800) 664-3177
FAX (805) 988-9521

Simi Valley
1900 E. Los Angeles Ave. Second Floor
Simi Valley, CA 93065
(805) 522-8030 (800) 517-2524
FAX (805) 522-8142

Special Education Services

For concerns related to one of the following 12 categories:

  1. autism
  2. deaf-blindness
  3. emotional disturbance
  4. hearing impairment (including deafness)
  5. intellectual disabilities/mental retardation
  6. multiple disabilities
  7. orthopedic impairment
  8. other health impairment
  9. specific learning disability
  10. speech or language impairment
  11. traumatic brain injury
  12. visual impairment (including blindness)

For more information, visit the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities.

Contact the Ventura County Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) to get information about specific local school districts for special education services

5100 Adolfo Road, Camarillo, CA 93012
Phone: (805) 437-1560
Fax: (805) 437-1599