Development Screening Tests for Young Children

by Carla on September 10, 2009

Does your daycare center participate in developmental screening? Screening is the process by which a brief, well-validated, standardized tool is administered among young children to aid in the identification of children who may be at risk of a delay or disorder. Most screening tools take only 10-20 minutes to administer per child.

A child in your daycare center will undergo screening if there is some concern about their development. Typically, parents notice developmental problems. For example, they may notice their child is not walking by a certain age or that there are language development issues. Preschools and daycare centers may also recommend to a parent that their child be screened due to concerns about behavior, language or socialization.

Not all children are evaluated. A child is referred for a developmental screening only when there is a concern regarding a delay in development. Preschool evaluations typically occur when a child is between 3 and 5 years of age.

There are many different methods of evaluation. Usually, a child will is measured for cognitive functioning such as an IQ test to measure how a child will perform on certain types of verbal and non-verbal tasks. An IQ test evaluates such things as vocabulary skills, conceptual thinking, block building skills, and problem solving. Language development tests are also given. This evaluates word usage and understanding, along with learning and academics (letters, colors, numbers, etc), sensory-integration, memory, organization and planning, and fine and gross-motor skills.

The tests will compare the child to other children in their particular age range. Next, the parents are given scores which describe their child’s performance. So, for example, if your child’s score was at the 40th percentile, that means they are functioning above 40% of the children in their age range.

Parents may also be asked to complete forms. The parent or guardian of each child will fill in and submit a child enrollment form which contain basic demographic information and also asks if the parent or guardian has any concerns about the child’s health, learning and other issues. The parent is also asked if the child has been diagnosed (and if so with what), and if there is an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

Special Services for Developmental Delay

There are many special services and intervention for children based on their diagnoses. Positive screening results call for referral to the local school district, a medical provider, or other intervention center. Then the child is provided with resources, recommendations or further referrals.

Some examples of special services/intervention could include:

Speech and Language development support: A speech therapist may be called to work on the child’s language development or pronunciation.

Sensory Needs Support: An occupational therapist may work with an autistic child to help him or her process various sensations in a way that does not agitate him/her.

Medical Support: If a child is has severe asthma, he or she might be referred to a primary care physician to receive appropriate services and medication.

Home daycare providers or family daycare providers can suggest developmental screening if they notice apparent developmental delay in the children they care for.

About Carla

Carla Snuggs has written 88 post in this blog.

Carla is a freelance writer from Southern California. She has a B.A. in early childhood education and a Master of Library and Information Science degree specializing in public librarianship and youth services.

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