OBJECTIVE: To trial the Parents’ Evaluation of Developmental Status (PEDS®) as an instrument for reporting developmental concerns for Australian preschool children.
METHOD: A cross-sectional survey of parents and carers of 262 children attending five day-care centres and two kindergartens in Melbourne was conducted between October and November 1999. Parents and carers completed the written PEDS® questionnaire, comprising 10 questions eliciting concerns about learning, development and behaviour, and answered questions about the acceptability and use of the PEDS®. RESULTS: Of 445 children, 389 were eligible for inclusion. Complete parent and carer PEDS® data were available for 262 children (67% response: 47% boys; 53% girls) aged from 18 months to 5 years, 9 months. Most parents found the PEDS® questionnaire easy to complete (98%) and likely to be useful to health professionals (89%). Twenty-four children (9%) were classified as being at high-risk of disabilities and 49 (19%) were classified as being at medium-risk of disabilities. Parents of 125 children (48%) reported no concerns. The prevalence of parental concerns was similar to the USA norming sample. Carers reported similar prevalences of concerns. Although overall agreement was high, parent/carer kappa-values were modest, being highest for the gross motor (kappa = 0.40) and social-emotional (kappa = 0.37) domains.
CONCLUSIONS: The PEDS® is acceptable to parents of Australian preschool children, with a prevalence of significant concerns (i.e. children at highand medium-risk of developmental problems) that is similar to those in the USA. Further research is needed to assess what factors differentially influence whether a concern is felt in a particular domain for a particular child.