Does this sound familiar to you? Although you shouldn’t compare your child’s development to other children, it’s okay to use other children’s development as a reference point. If you have experienced this type of scenario on multiple occasions then a talk with your pediatrician is recommended.
Children may have a delay or difference in many areas of development such as talking, walking, manipulating toys, or developing relationships.
Pediatricians have assessment tools that they use during office visits to determine how your child is developing. One example is the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (A&S).
Ages and Stages is a tool that may be used by parents, pediatricians, public preschools, and private child care programs to determine how a child is developing. Ages and Stages Questionnaire is available to parents on-line or through a paper format. Children may be screened from 1 month to 5 ½ years of age. Results are taken to the pediatrician’s office for scoring and interpretation. Your pediatrician will determine if your child meets requirements for further evaluation for Early Intervention Services or monitoring with educational activities provided by A&S’s with repeat assessment.
If your child meets requirement for Early Intervention (EI) Services, your little one may receive therapy through Infant and Toddler Connection of Virginia regardless of your family’s financial standing. Early Intervention Services are required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for every state to provide services to infants, toddlers and preschoolers who demonstrate delays in developmental stages, or who have or are at risk for disabilities. Children who qualify for EI may receive services in education, health care and social services. Your little one may receive therapy from educators, speech-language pathologists, occupational/physical therapists, psychologists, social workers and/or nurses.
Your child is monitored on a continual basis until 3 years of age with the Individual and Family Support Program. Suppose your child hasn’t “caught-up” with his development by 3 years of age? Your child will be assessed by a team of therapist as he/she approaches three years of age. If it is determined that services are needed, then Early Childhood Programs are available through the public school system such as Preschool for Developmental Delay. While your little one is starting early education he may still receive OT/PT and speech therapy services through the school system. School age children are followed by their local school system with an Individual Education Program (IEP) as the student/child is eligible.
Early recognition and early treatment have been proven to help children reach their maximum learning and developmental growth potential. Be an advocate for your child and talk to your pediatrician about early intervention if needed!
Valerie Bowman, MD, FAAP
Bon Secours Health Systems St. Mary’s Hospital
5855 Bremo Road
MOB North Suite 703
Richmond, VA 23226