We are often asked, “When is the best time to evaluate my child?” Current research stresses the importance of early identification and intervention. Assessment is the first step in identifying the specific developmental needs of a child. Once determined, proper interventions can be implemented. Because the young brain is more flexible, proper intervention at an early age creates lasting effects on brain development.
What is an early childhood evaluation?
An early childhood evaluation is specialized for children between the ages of 1-5 years old, and includes:
- Formal testing in language, motor skills, cognitive functioning, social behavior and communication
- School and/or home observation
- Analysis of environmental, medical and developmental factors that contribute to the overall picture
- Collaboration with school and other medical professionals when needed
What do you learn from the evaluation?
- Reasons for delay in particular areas. For example, is the language delay because he/she is a “late bloomer,” has a “real language delay,” or is impacted by a “social communication disorder?”
- An understanding of “why” and “when” problematic behaviors occur
- An analysis of personal strengths and weaknesses
- Which interventions would be most helpful given the information learned about your child
What happens after the evaluation?
Following an evaluation parents participate in a feedback session and discuss how to best help their child. Possible outcomes of these evaluations may include:
- Helping to choose the correct preschool placement for your child
- Consultation with current teachers to embed strategies and goals to aid development
- Referrals to specific service providers such as speech, occupational or behavioral therapies
- Recommendations about possible services to put in place in the school setting
- Parent consultation or training to improve developmental skills
- Referrals to Early Intervention (EI) or Committee on Preschool Education (CPSE)
What are the benefits of an evaluation?
Early childhood experts who provide evaluations offer parents a better understanding of their child’s development. Appropriate diagnosis provides the necessary information about what is needed to capitalize on your child’s strengths, foster their learning and communication, and improve their social functioning and behavior.
For more information on early childhood evaluations, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.