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Developmental Delay or Disability? Making Early Identification of Your Child’s Special Needs

January 31, 2011

Parents of young children, particularly children under the age of 5, often wonder whether their child is meeting all the important developmental milestones. Many guiltily admit that they want to know how their son or daughter compares to other kids their age, and they become concerned if they hear that another child can do something theirs cannot. Sometimes these worries simply trouble loving parents who want the best for their children, and they soon realize that their child just needed a little more time to accomplish the same task. Other times, and at an ever rising level over the past decade, the concerns of parents are justified, leaving them to wonder; what do I do now, and whose attention can I bring this to?

If this situation sounds familiar, the first step in the identification process is to bring your concerns to your child’s pediatrician. The doctor can be a very powerful influence when making the initial decision about whether to seek formal testing, and also later when determining what types of services are important and appropriate. Between the ages of 1 and 3, (or prior to the entrance of preschool,) your child is entitled to a free assessment/screening, typically referred by a pediatrician. This is usually performed by the Infant and Toddler Program in your area. If the results of the assessment indicate and identify a need, the Commonwealth will provide your child with certain services, potentially in and out of your home, free of charge.

Once your child reaches the age of 3, …

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by: Melissa R. Gillis

January 31, 2011

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