Objective: This study explored the potential roles and utility of the Parents Evaluation of Developmental Status (PEDS) to screen children for developmental delays in a Southeast Asian clinical sample of preschool children. The PEDS is a 10-item questionnaire instrument used in pediatric settings for reporting parents' concerns for their children's development, learning, and behavior. Clinicians use it to make decisions about clinical pathways for high-, moderate-, and low-risk categories of concerns, but its utility in cross-cultural contexts has not been well documented.
Methods: Participants in this study were 1806 parents, teachers, and child care workers of preschool children in Singapore. Of these, 47.2% were English speaking, 21.2% were Mandarin Chinese speaking, and 31.6% were Malay speaking. PEDS was translated into Chinese and Malay for parents using these languages predominantly.
Results: Only parent results were analyzed. The reporting of significant parental concern was considerably higher than US norms and Australian pilot figures when western cutoff scores were applied. When cutoff scores were adjusted, similar patterns of reporting of high, medium, and low risk for disability could be captured.
Conclusions: Parents' interpretation of the concept of "concern" varies across language and culture. Findings highlight the importance of evaluating a screening tool's use in local contexts before its widespread implementation to yield clinically meaningful results.