Measuring developmental delay

Measuring behavioural and emotional problems in infants and toddlers with developmental delay

Key investiagtors

Assoc Prof Kylie Gray
Professor Bruce Tonge
Professor Stewart Einfeld

The study

Research has established that behavioural and emotional problems occur at a significantly higher rate in young people with intellectual and developmental problems compared to those with typical development.  Such difficulties present from an early age and persist over time.  In order to fully understand the precursors of behavioural and emotional problems in children and adolescents, and develop targeted early intervention programmes, it is necessary to evaluate the presence of such difficulties in infants and toddlers with developmental delay.  However, we currently have no instruments to measure behaviour and emotional problems in very young children.  This project aims to develop such an instrument.

This work is funded by a Monash University Strategic Grant Scheme Early Career Award to Dr Kylie Gray, The Foundation for Children, and the Australian Research Council. The current study will validate and develop standard norms for the instrument developed - the Developmental Behaviour Checklist for Under 4's (DBC-U4).   Children aged 18-28 months with developmental delay, living in 4 regions of Victoria will participate in the study.  It will determine how many young children with developmental delay have behaviour and emotional problems, and how this impacts their families. This research will provide health professionals, researchers and service providers with a reliable and valid measure to assess behaviour and emotional problems in young children with developmental delay. This will be the first instrument of its kind worldwide. It will provide information on the types of treatment that are needed for these children and what support is needed for their families.