Preschooler's Developmental Profiles and School-Readiness in a Low-Income Canadian City: A Cross-Sectional Survey
Camden, Chantal; Héguy, Léa; Casoli, Megan; Roy, Mathieu; Rivard, Lisa; Berbari, Jade; PPOP Research Team; Couture, Mélanie
A joint initiative between community and public health stakeholders in a low-income Canadian city was created to describe the developmental profiles of children aged 2–5 years. A two-phase, cross-sectional design was used. Children’s development was assessed using an online screening procedure. Those at risk of delays were invited for a school-readiness face-to-face brief assessment. Descriptive and exploratory analyses were conducted. In Phase 1, 223 families were screened; 100 children were at risk of delays (45%); 13% were at risk in 3 developmental domains; 26% were at risk in the fine motor domain. Risk of delay was associated with parental concerns, accessing more healthcare professionals, and using fewer public health/community programs. Lower incomes, and not attending day care showed trends towards an increased risk of delay. In Phase 2, 49 children were assessed; 69% were at risk of school-readiness delays; 22% had potential motor delays; 37% were at risk in the social domain. This study found a higher proportion of children at risk of delay than typically reported. Creating community partnerships could help identify all children needing developmental and school-readiness support. More research is needed to ensure these community-based partnerships are integrated into health/community programs responding to children’s needs and parental concerns.