Background Home-based screening to identify young children at risk for neurodevelopmental impairments (NDIs) is needed to guide the targeting of child neurodevelopmental intervention services in Bangladesh. This study aimed to validate such a tool for children under age 2 years.
Methods A Developmental Screening Questionnaire was administered to mothers of children aged 0–<2 years in an urban community. Inter-rater reliability among the interviewers, who were high school graduates, was determined. All children who were screen positive and a proportion of screen negatives were subsequently assessed for NDIs by professionals. Sensitivity and specificity were calculated by comparing screening with assessment results.
Results Mean kappa coefficient of agreement among interviewers was 0.95. A total of 197 children were screened, of whom 17% screened positive. Fifty-one children, including 24 screen negatives, were assessed for NDIs. Screen-positivity was significantly different between income groups (P= 0.019), and higher in stunted children (odds ratio = 5.76, 95% confidence interval = 1.72–19.28), indicating good discriminant validity Specificity was excellent (84–100%) for all developmental domains. Sensitivity was 100% for vision and hearing; 70% for speech; and 63%, 53%, 48%, and 45% for gross motor, behaviour, fine motor and cognitive impairments, respectively.
Conclusion A tool for screening <2-year-old children at risk for NDIs showed high specificity; and was able to identify all children at risk for vision and hearing impairments, nearly three-fourths with speech impairments, two-thirds with gross motor impairments, and about half with behavioural, cognitive and fine motor impairments. The Developmental Screening Questionnaire tool has potential for use by frontline workers to screen large populations and to link to definitive assessment as well as intervention services.