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ESSENCE-Q screening questionnaire

The ESSENCE-Q is a questionnaire designed for clinical and research purposes, with the aim of helping clinicians and researchers to identify children (of all ages, but primarily small children) who may have some kind of ESSENCE disorder

About the ESSENCE-Q

The ESSENCE-Q is a questionnaire designed for clinical and research purposes, with the aim of helping clinicians and researchers to identify children (of all ages, but primarily small children) who may have some kind of ESSENCE disorder (an umbrella term including e.g. ASD, ADHD, DCD, SLI and Tourette’s syndrome).

How the ESSENCE-Q is scored

Tally up the number of YES responses and MAYBE/A LITTLE responses. All children who get one (or more) clear YES or three (or more) MAYBE/A LITTLE should be examined by a child development specialist or screened for further problems by a child care centre nurse.

Psychometric properties

ESSENCE-Q has been used as a parent questionnaire in a Japanese study and was then found to have good psychometric properties, with a sensitivity of 0.94 and specificity of 0.53. High sensitivity, as in this case, is paramount in a screening instrument.

How the ESSENCE-Q is used

The ESSENCE-Q can be used as a short interview (led by a doctor or a psychologist/nurse in a neurodevelopmental assessment team) or as a questionnaire filled out by parents (although it has as yet only been tested on mothers, not fathers). It is neither to be used as a diagnostic tool nor as a proxy for diagnosis, but rather as a screening instrument.

Published articles on the ESSENCE-Q

Parent Questionnaires in the Evaluation of Pre-School Children Referred for Neuropsychiatric Assessment.  Cederlund M. J Autism Dev Disord. 2021

ESSENCE-Q obtained in routine Japanese public child health check-ups may be a valuable tool in neurodevelopmental screening. Hatakenaka Y, Maeda M, Ninomiya H, Hachiya K, Fernell E, Gillberg C. Acta Paediatr. 2020

ESSENCE-Q: Slavic language versions for developmental screening in young children. Stevanovic D, Knez R, Zorcec T, Anderluh M, Kodrič J, Petrov P, Hadžagić Ćatibušić F, Deljković A, Brkic Cvetkovic S, Vrljičak Davidovic N, Kuzmanić Šamija R, Đorić A, Gillberg C. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2018

ESSENCE-Q - used as a screening tool for neurodevelopmental problems in public health checkups for young children in south Japan. Hatakenaka Y, Ninomiya H, Billstedt E, Fernell E, Gillberg C. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2017

ESSENCE-Q - a first clinical validation study of a new screening questionnaire for young children with suspected neurodevelopmental problems in south Japan. Hatakenaka Y, Fernell E, Sakaguchi M, Ninomiya H, Fukunaga I, Gillberg C. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2016

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