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Early Developmental Surveillance Initiative

Early childhood is an exciting and important time for child development. At this young age, children build skills to move, speak, learn, and manage their feelings. Sometimes, children may have delays in one or more of these areas. Identifying whether there is a delay as soon as possible can give families support and can help address or manage the delay.

To help identify children (age 18 months to six years) who would benefit from developmental support, we have created a short and easy to use tool called the Developmental Temperature Taking tool (or DTT), that can be used to identify any concerns that a parent or educator has about the child’s development. Just like taking a child’s temperature, the tool provides a signal that something needs attention but does not diagnose.

Right now, we are testing the DTT in the places it will be used to see how accurate it is and how usable it is in those settings. The DTT was created for educators in child-focussed, community-based settings, like Ontario Early Years Centres (OEYCs) or licensed childcare centres. These places work well for testing the tool because educators are trained in child development and they see the child regularly. Staff also have relationships with the parents and can offer support and suggestions in a helpful and respectful way.

We are asking parents and educators to each complete the tool with the child and are looking at their ratings of concern and comparing this to a validated, standardized measure that is used to identify delay. Our goal is to create a useful tool that can help children across Ontario.


Principal Investigator

Partner Organizations

Funded by the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services as part of the Special Needs Strategy.

    • McMaster University Department of Family Medicine
    • David Braley Health Sciences Centre
    • 100 Main Street West, 6th Floor
    • Hamilton, ON L8P 1H6
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