This has been an exciting year for the CDC’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) Screener programme with a large increase in its uptake within the community. The programme comprises two parts: a parent talk ­­– which highlights critical factors in the development of children aged 0 to 8 years; and a screening of children 7 years and under to identify any red flags in their development.

Ten organisations partnered with us to deliver the screener at their chosen site, in addition to the CDC’s own centre-based screening programme. These community partners include a wide range of backgrounds, such as The Vine Church, Pathfinders, H.K.S.K.H. Tung Chung Integrated Services Centre, The Hub and Youth Diabetes Actions. We were re-invited to present the programme more than once at some organisations due to the positive response from parents. In fact, the screener was so successful at one particular organisation that an “ECD Screener Clinic” was established as a result. The parent talk was delivered every three months while the developmental screening section of the programme ran even more frequently on a monthly basis. This operation model has proven to be very effective, allowing timely follow-up with families where necessary. We hope to continue in this format with more organisations in future.

The success of the programme went far beyond assuring the majority of the parents that their child’s development was progressing as expected. Many parents also welcomed the opportunity to ask about best practices in child upbringing. The questions included: how best to stimulate their child’s development, how a bilingual household would affect their child, how to handle electronic screen time, etc. In addition, we successfully identified approximately 20% of screened children for further comprehensive assessments or to commence therapy to address their developmental needs as highlighted in the screening result. This was a significant way forward for these children who, otherwise, may have missed the opportunity to achieve their optimal development.

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