Introduction – What are the PLUM and HATS?

The PLUM screens listening skills development and the HATS screens communication skills development. The checklists can be done separately or together.

The PLUM and HATS are designed to ask parents the right questions to get good information about a child’s development of listening and communication skills. Parents know what their child can do or are not yet able to do. If we ask the right questions, we can get good information to help find out if a child needs help to develop better listening or communication skills.

The PLUM and HATS are designed for parents or carers of children under 6 years. They help you to engage parents and carers to find out more about their child’s development.

The PLUM and HATS have been co-designed with Aboriginal health and early childhood staff in Katherine, NT, & western Sydney. The tools value what the parent or carer knows about their child’s everyday behaviors.

They are not designed to give to parents to do by themselves.
Using the PLUM and HATS will give you an idea if a child under 6 years:

  • Have skills that are on track
  • Have skills that are borderline & should be watched
  • Need a hearing or speech referral ASAP.

The tools have been designed for use by people from a wide range of backgrounds, such as:

  • Primary Health workers
  • Early Educators
  • Nurses, GPs

Add them to your usual practice for children under 6 years. For example, use them:

  • If a child is reported to have ear trouble
  • As part of annual child health checks
  • As part of regular parent/ teacher meetings