Introduction Link

On Track - Section 8 in PDF

Screening Tools and Programs used in Ontario

Things to consider before screening

Before using a screening tool, a professional must consider:

  • Are you qualified to administer this screen?
  • Do you know how to follow up after screening, should a concern be identified?
  • What level of confidentiality will be used when screening? How will this level of confidentiality be ensured?
  • Where and when will the screening take place?
  • Are there any cultural implications to consider when applying the screening? Please see “Cultural Sensitivity When Working with Families” in section 2 and section 6 of this guide.
  • Do you know how to discuss sensitive issues with families related to using the screening tool and reporting the results? Please refer to “How to talk with parents about sensitive issues” in section 6 of this guide.
  • Is the screening tool valid, reliable and accurate?
  • Is it free of bias and is it non-discriminatory?
  • Is it easy to administer?
  • Is it cost-effective?

Regardless of the results of screening or assessment, children and families should be assisted in accessing appropriate community supports, resources and information.

Some of the tools listed in the table are restricted to use by professionals who have specific training and qualifications.

Screening Tools Used In Ontario

Tool Focus Age Range General Description
AIMS - Alberta Infant Motor Scale

Available in English
Motor Development Infants between 4 and 18 months Identification of motor delays in four positions: supine, prone, sitting and standing

ASQ-3, Third

(Available in
English, French,
and Spanish)

Gross Motor
Fine Motor
One to 66 months

The ASQ-3 can be used for two purposes:

  • as a developmental level screening tool to identify infants and children that may require further assessment
  • as a monitoring tool to gauge the
    development of children who are at risk for developmental disabilities or delays

Blind -Low Vision Early Intervention Program




Vision Birth to Grade 1 The purpose is to identify children who are not meeting developmental milestones that mark early vision development and refer them for further assessment by a physician or licensed optometrist before their first birthday. If any vision concerns are present the child should be seen as soon as possible.

(Available in
English, French
and several
other languages)
Language and
Six months
to four years
A checklist developed by Toronto Public Health Speech and Language Services.
Primary caregivers can use this checklist to help them decide if their child needs help with speech and language.
Dental Screening Dental and Oral Health Six months to 18 years Dental screening is a visual inspection by a dental hygienist to see if an obvious dental condition exists and to identify children at risk for Early Childhood Tooth Decay.
Dental Screening Tool

Available in English
Dental and Oral Health 18 - 36 months Early identification of children at risk for or having dental caries.
To help monitor a child’s dental development. It also provides dental care and hygiene tips.
Infant Hearing Program Hearing
Uses DPOAE - Automated Distortion Product Otoacoustic Emissions or
AABR - Automated Auditory Brainstem Response
Birth to 4 months To identify significant hearing loss in neonatal and infant population. Children who score “refer” on the second newborn screen are sent to audiology (at no charge) for diagnostics. Children identified as having risk factors for hearing loss are monitored up to 30 months.
EPDS - Edinburgh Post Partum Depression Scale Post Partum Mood Disorders (PPMD) and/or depression in pregnancy Prenatal and postnatal mothers, fathers, adoptive parents, and parents of toddlers Widely used scale to screen and identify women experiencing postpartum depression and anxiety as well as depression during pregnancy

LUI™ - Language
Use Inventory
(Available in


Expressive language and social (pragmatic) communication 18 - 47
A standardized, empirically-validated,
parent-completed questionnaire that
supports the identifi cation of children
with signifi cant delays or impairments
in their social pragmatic use of language
in everyday settings. Automated
scoring and report generation with
percentile-norm scores for both online
and hardcopy version.

Modified Checklist
for Autism in
Toddlers, Revised
(Available in
English, French
and several other

Autism Spectrum
Disorder (ASD)
16 - 30
A caregiver-completed checklist to identify
toddlers who may benefit from a more
thorough developmental and autism

NDDS - Nipissing District Developmental Screen

Available in English, French and some other languages







Cognitive skills
Communication, speech and language
Fine and gross motor skills
Social/emotional skills
Self-help skills
One months - six years NDDS is a universal, developmental, parent-completed checklist designed that covers vision, hearing, and communication, gross and fine motor, cognitive, social/emotional, and self-help. The tool assists parents, health care and child care professionals with a convenient and easy-to-use method of recording the development and progress of infants and children within certain age groupings.
The screens coincide with immunization schedules as well as key developmental stages up to age six and are the preferred parent tool for use at the enhanced 18-months well baby visit.
Age appropriate activities accompany the screens and are designed to promote overall development.

- Nutrition
Screening Tool for
Every Preschooler (Available in
English, French and several
other languages)

(Available in English, French
and Spanish)

Eating Habits

3 - 5 years




18 - 35

NutriSTEP® is a parent-completed
questionnaire used to identify toddler
and preschool children at nutritional
risk. Topics include: food and nutrient
intake; physical growth; evelopmental
and physical capabilities; physical activity; food security and the feeding environment. Parents of children identified as “at risk” should talk to a registered dietitian or their child’s doctor.

NBS - Newborn Screening
(Fact sheets available in
English, French and several
other languages)


Early identification of
One to seven days Newborn Screening Ontario (NSO) offers screening for serious, treatable diseases to all babies born in Ontario. Early identification of these diseases allows treatment that may prevent growth problems, health problems, mental retardation, and sudden infant death. Currently the tool screens for 29 different diseases.
REEL-3 - Receptive, Expressive, Emergent Language Test - Third Edition

Available in English
Language Birth to three years Screens receptive language (the child’s language comprehension) and expressive language (the child’s verbal communication).

Rourke Baby Record

Available in English and French



Health and Development Birth to five years Is a screening tool used by family physicians and paediatricians to assess a child’s development.
It has been used since 1979 and was most recently revised in 2014.
It provides evidence based growth and development parameters and supports education of the child’s care providers through the physician.