The journey of a parent can be uncertain and full of doubt. As parents we can find ourselves awake at night asking questions if our child is okay, if they are meeting developmental milestones, and if they’re going to have a vibrant future. If you have any of these concerns we urge you to trust your intuition and take action. Call your doctor, call your nurse, or reach out to us and we would be happy to assist you in having your child formally evaluated.
What is a diagnostic evaluation? This is a deeper look into your child’s development than what you would experience during your child’s annual or semi-annual wellness check conducted by your pediatrician. At Hope our evaluations are led by Dr. Sara, a licensed clinical psychologist, and supported by our team of Speech Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, and Board Certified Behavior Analysts.
What is a developmental delay? The growth of a child is amazing to watch- a combination of moving their body, gaining motor skills, developing speech, learning new things, and gaining mastery over their emotions and behavior. Children reach milestones in each of these critical areas at every stage of their life. A developmental delay is when a child doesn’t reach these milestones at the same time as other children that are the same age. The diagnostic evaluation can identify developmental delays and help determine the best course of action to help your child overcome any obstacles and reach their full potential.
Parents are present with their children and interacting with them throughout the assessment. The evaluation includes an in-depth parent interview and any concerns will be noted and taken into consideration. The psychologist will make their own observations and the evaluation will look like a structured play setting; with testing materials that look like toys. The psychologist will be looking at how the child responds to stimulus, how they move physically, and how they communicate. The psychologist will get an idea of the child’s strengths and weaknesses and determine if any other specialized evaluations are needed and can pave the way towards early intervention and treatment programs if needed.
This evaluation can be critical for children that are typically between the ages of 2-5 to identify any delays in development that may go unnoticed at a pre-school or daycare because the environment is less structured than grade school. The psychologist can provide suggestions on how to enhance development at home while also referring the child to specialists in other service areas. Learning disabilities, language comprehension, motor delays, behavior concerns, ADHD, autism or global development delays may be identified at this stage.
Having a school aged child evaluated can be useful in identifying the root cause of any emotional, social, or behavioral issues that may be preventing the child from succeeding in their learning environment. The evaluation will also include a parent interview and tests that can be used to help provide the parents with more information and a suggested course of action. If further evaluations are needed the psychologist can provide a referral. Upon completion of the diagnostic evaluation the evaluating psychologist will discuss the results with you and suggest the recommended course of action to ensure your child progresses in their development.