Description

The aim of the Agir tôt program is to support the development of children's full potential from an early age. Indeed, it is very important to identify any difficulties children are having as early as possible so that they can get the support they need quickly. Early intervention using appropriate means with the child and their family can have a significant impact on the development of the child's full potential.

More specifically, the Agir tôt program aims to:

  • identify potential developmental gaps between the child and other children in the same age group (developmental monitoring) as early as possible;
  • create a developmental profile and promptly refer the child to the right services (screening);
  • provide services that meet the needs of the child and their family (intervention).

Participating institutions

The developmental monitoring and screening components of the Agir tôt program are being deployed, as a demonstration project, in the following four institutions:

  • CIUSSS du Nord-de-l'Île-de-Montréal
  • CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l'Île-de-Montréal;
  • CISSS de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue;
  • CISSS de Chaudière-Appalaches.

The demonstration project has been initiated and is supported by the Centre hospitalier universitaire (CHU) Sainte-Justine.

Program components

Developmental monitoring and screening

If you live in a region or territory where the demonstration project is being carried out, child development will be monitored at the 18-month vaccination appointment. In addition to giving your child vaccines, the CLSC nurse will ask you questions about your child's development during the appointment.

You will be given information about vaccination and the nurse will also check for signs of difficulties using the ABCdaire 18mois+ monitoring tool. The appointment will last one hour.

If necessary, you will be asked to answer more specific questions about your child's development by completing online questionnaires at home on the digital screening platform. You will be supported and accompanied by a professional if necessary.

If you wish, and depending on the results of the questionnaires, your child may be referred to services that meet their needs.

The digital platform is an early screening tool designed to identify children with potential developmental gaps compared with other children of the same age. At the moment, the platform can be accessed by parents of children who live in a region or territory where the demonstration project is being carried out and who request access.

If a parent who lives in a region where the demonstration project is being carried out has concerns about the development of a child who is between the ages of 0 and 5, they may request access to the screening platform at the CLSC. A doctor, childcare professional or any other significant person close to the child who is worried may also refer to the platform, with the parents’ permission.

Steps involved in requesting a referral to the platform

  • First, the procedure is explained to the parents. They must give their consent before being granted access to the platform and starting to complete the questionnaires.
  • Parents are given an access code to connect to the platform and complete the questionnaires about their child's development. If they do not have access to a computer, do not have an Internet connection or need help completing the questionnaires, they can ask for help.
  • Some questionnaires may also be completed by other significant people (e.g., a childcare educator) to gain a better understanding of the child's development.
  • When the questionnaires are completed, a clinical manager will analyze the answers and the results and inform the parents.

Intervention

If developmental gaps are identified and if the parents wish, a child can be referred at an early age to the Agir tôt program intervention services that meet their needs.

The program's multidisciplinary teams are in place in all regions of Québec to provide child development support services for children age 0 to 5. Indeed, investments under the Agir tôt program mean that new professionals from a range of disciplines can be hired to work with young children and their families.

The program’s multidisciplinary teams are made up of the following professionals:

  • occupational therapists;
  • physiotherapists;
  • nutritionists;
  • speech therapists;
  • specialist educators;
  • psychoeducators;
  • nurses;
  • psychologists;
  • social workers.

The Agir tôt program recommends that interventions be offered close to the child's home. Close collaboration between the key players in the child's life, that is, the parents, the child care centre, the community organization or the school, is essential to ensure that the child's needs are met. In the Agir tôt program, parent support throughout the service continuum is vital.