Identifying Developmental Delay in Children
Every child develops differently. Some may be quick to talk, but slow to walk. Some may enjoy interacting with their peers in a rough-and-tumble fashion while others may seek out more solitary activities. As a paraprofessional, it is helpful to know what is considered "typical development," how the developmental screening process works, and what types of screening tools are used to evaluate children.
What is considered "typical development"?
General developmental milestones can be used to monitor a child"s development. If a child differs from what is considered typical, it may be time to seek further assessment. The goal of early intervention and early childhood education is to provide children with the necessary supports and services to maximize their developmental potential. Informative resources on typical development include:
- The University of Michigan Health System provides a comprehensive collection of developmental checklists. They also have additional information on developmental delays.
- Zero to Three has numerous resources on the development of children under three.
- The Centers for Disease Control provides developmental milestones in print and video formats as well as an interactive chart for parents to track their child's development.
- The York Red Flags Task Group has developed "Red flags: A quick reference guide for early years professionals" (PDF) to help professionals identify developmental concerns through age 6.
What is a "developmental screening"?
Developmental screenings are a formal way to have a child quickly assessed for the possibility of a developmental delay. If a delay is suspected, a full developmental assessment will be suggested. Developmental screenings can take place in a physician's office, through an early intervention provider, or through the local school district's Child Find efforts.
Child Find is a collaborative effort between local school districts, Child and Family Connections offices the Illinois State Board of Education, and the Department of Human Services. Its purpose is to locate and serve children needing early intervention services within the State of Illinois. Find the Child and Family Connection office that serves your specific county.
Screenings available in the Heartland Community College area include:
- marcfirst – SPICE
- Easter Seals Central Illinois
- Child & Family Connections Office of Central Illinois
- Typically local school districts will offer developmental screenings twice per school year. Contact your local school district for more information on the availability and timing of these screenings.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website provides:
- an overview of the purpose and need for developmental screenings
- a fact sheet on developmental screenings (PDF) in both English and Spanish.
What screening tools are commonly used during developmental screenings?
- Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ)
- Denver Developmental Screening Test II (DDST-II)
- Early Screening Inventory-Revised (ESI-R)
- Infant Toddler Developmental Assessment (IDA)
- Hawaii Early Learning Profile (HELP)
- Carolina Curriculum for Infants and Toddlers
- Assessment Evaluation & Programming System (AEPS)
- Preschool Language Scale (PLS)
- Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test
- Rossetti Infant-Toddler Language Scale
- Battelle Developmental Inventory
- PEDS: Developmental Milestones Measurements for Children 0-8 Years
A summary of various screening tools is available from Bridges4Kids.