Assessments Help In Children's Development

Assessments Help In Children's Development
Posted on 10/30/2018

Seeing a child’s first smile, first step, and first words is something parents look forward to.

For children age birth to four, physical, cognitive, linguistic, and social-emotional growth and development occur at a rapid rate. While children may reach developmental milestones (e.g. smiling, saying first word, taking first steps) at a different rate, development that does not happen within an expected timeframe can raise concerns about development disorders, health conditions, or other factors that may negatively impact a child’s development.

Developmental assessment is a critical part of a high-quality, early education program. Observing and documenting allows educators to accumulate a record of the child’s growth and development to plan appropriate curriculum and effective individualized instruction in order for each child to reach their milestones at a normal time range. 

Head Start Performance Standards require all programs to screen children for developmental and behavioral concerns within 45 days of a child’s entry into the school.

“One of our assessment tools is the Pre-IDEA Proficiency Test (Pre-IPT) designed to determine language dominance and to measure language acquisition, vocabulary, comprehension, syntax, and verbal expression,” said Preschool Program Manager Luz Murillo. “We also utilize the Battelle Developmental Inventory 2ndEdition (BDI-2), a research-based screening, which assesses a child’s mastery of critical skills and behaviors of normal development to identify special needs and guide individualized instruction and continuous planning.”

Children are assessed by their teacher, three times a year – at the beginning, middle, and end of year determining their strengths and needs in social-emotional, adaptive, motor, communication, and cognitive skill sets.

“The Pre-IPT is a story format, question and response, follow directions test which assesses listening and speaking skills as appropriate to the needs of the preschool student,” said Murillo. “The BDI-2 is a hands-on, play-based with manipulative, and observation assessment. Our children are assessed in their dominant language.”

Identifying special needs through developmental assessment allows families and professionals to work together to assure that children get the services and support they need to succeed. 

“Assessment outcomes are crucial to promptly identify any developmental concerns and appropriately address any special needs,” said Disabilities and Mental Health Program Manager Cynthia Montes. “If any developmental concern is identified, our Disabilities and Mental Health Department will work closely with the parents and refer the child, depending the age, to Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) or the receiving school district so that it can be determined if the child is eligible for special services.”

By combining community resources, expert support, tools, and building positive connections, families can make the most of the developmental support their child receives.