Assessment for Developmental Delays
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Assessment for Developmental Delays
I'm considering having my three year old developmentally
assessed. She has some odd behaviors (but aren't all three year
olds unusual!). My question - what are the downsides to having
her assessed? Would I ever have to reveal the results on any
insurance applications or school applications?
Thanks for your input
If you can pay out-of-pocket then you won't have an insurance
record/trail following you. Ironic, since most insurance doesn't
cover ''developmental'' issues anyway, and yet they have denied us
coverage DUE to that. But I digress. Overall, it's been helpful
for us to have as much assessment and intervention as we can get
but we are definitely careful about how much information we
divulge depending on context.
Family of Dev. Delayed Child
I strongly recommend having an evaluation if you are concerned
about your child's behaviors. Early intervention is critical for
many disorders. If you have a private evaluation (and pay for it
yourself) you can keep it absolutely confidential. You can also
ask your public school district for an assessment, and those
records will be kept confidential, but you do lose some control
over them because professionals can see the report. I can think
of more advantages than disadvantages to having an assessment.
(Insurance companies will pay for some treatments once you have a
diagnosis. Also, children qualify for services from the Regional
Center if they have certain diagnoses.) However, the quality of
the assessment depends on who does it, of course. Good luck!
You asked for downsides and, IMHO, there are no downsides. Any
insight into who your child is can only help you as a parent.
tell you about our experience. Our child has always been higher
on the difficulty scale. Very bright, but also socially delayed,
impulsive, and strong-willed. Anyway, I asked my ped to give me a
referral to a developmental pediatrician. He assessed my boy and
basically told us that there was no diagnosis - that there is a
norm in terms of behavior and our son was on one side of the
curve. Delayed based on the norm, but not diagnosable.
So, by having the assessment, it gave us peace of mind. He's
still a challenge to parent, but at least we aren't worried and
he has outgrown many of the behaviors that caused us to worry in
the first place. We're in the midst of applying for private
schools and one of the applications asked about whether our child
had ever been diagnosed or is seeing a beh/psych specialist. From
the tour of the school though, I gathered it had more to do with
making sure they knew as much as possible so they could be
supportive rather than an exclusionary question. )n the plus
side, if you do get your daughter assessed and diagnosed, she's
eligible starting at three for services through the school
district. I would say do the assessment. It can only help.
If you are concerned about your child's development you should
definitely have an assessment. You have no obligation to share
the findings with any one. I had concerns about my son's
development from age 2 onward but people kept reassuring me that
he was fine so I did not have him assessed. When I finally did
(age 3.5yrs) it turned out that he was delayed in all areas of
development and I still wish I had addressed this matter earlier.
If you're concerned about your child, there's no down-side to
getting an assessment as a privately paying client. That way,
the assessment is yours to share (or not) with whomever you
Clinical Psychologist & Mom
First of all, wherever you go for an assessment, there will most likely
be a long
waiting list during which time they will have you fill out a
questionnaire to determine whether it is even worth having you come in.
If there are
no red flags, they won't even see you. If someone does agree to see your
outcome will either be a determination that the child is developing
not need intervention, in which case it would not make a difference to
companies or school district; or the that child is not developing
intervention in which case you will probably want to get the school
insurance company involved anyway.
If your instincts are telling you there is something off, I would trust
that and get the
assessment. If she does need intervention, the sooner the better .
Wish I had had my child assessed sooner
hello everyone, I'm in a bit of a quandary...
My almost 4-year-old boy is bright, but has an obvious language
delay, & a subtle ''something'' that gets in the way of him
socializing with his peers. It may be a social/emotional delay,
or maybe is situational (even less verbal with peers/in public),
or maybe is just related to the language delay. I have an
assessment lined up with the Berkeley school district in March, &
my questions are these:
1) has anyone had an assessment done through the school district?
How in depth/satisfactory was it?
2)his caregiver & our pediatrician both recommended getting an
assessment done by a developmental pediatrician, because of the
subtlety of his behavioral ''issues''. Does anyone have any
recommendations? Does it have to cost an arm & a leg?
Our resources are limited, but we think that early & accurate
diagnosis (of any issues, or the lack thereof) would be helpful,
signed, Sittin' on the Proactive/Neurotic Seesaw
It is very scary to deal with the fact that your child might
have special challenges. But if you see a developmental
pediatrician - you are more likely to get the whole picture of
what is going on with him - and figure out best how to help him.
The assessments by the school district are not done for the
purpose of determining a medical diagnosis and are not done by
medical experts. They are short - a couple hours. We saw a dev
pediatrician. They conducted four separate observations of our
son with minimal testing and wrote a lengthy report which helped
us to determine what services he truly needed. You can go thru
children's hospital if costs are a barrier.
Hi - I totally sympathize with what you are going through. I
have just gone through it with BOTH my boys (4 & 6). It has been
a frustrating, scary, overwhelming process because I had no clue
what I was doing and had to rely on the expertise of others.
I will say that, if at all possible, have your child evaluated by
the BUSD as well as a developmental pediatrician. My older son's
assessment was thankfully covered by insurance (although I had to
fight). If we would have paid for it, it was about $5k. The
younger son has only gone through BUSD (free).
I would say the school system seemed very capable and
knowledgeable for my younger son (easier to diagnose). My older
son would have received an incorrect diagnosis by BUSD had it not
been for the medical evaluation. His behaviors are a bit more in
the 'gray area'.
The school system has been, in my experience, very willing to
offer support/services to my sons at no cost to us (thanks to No
Child Left Behind). My younger son is now in a preschool with a
speech therapist and a 3:5 student:teacher ratio. He is getting
the help he needs to succeed. My older son is in kindergarten
and I'm working very closely with his teacher, the occupational
therapist and school administration to make sure gets what he
needs as well.
You do need to be your child's advocate, do lots of research on
your own and ask lots of questions. BUSD has been willing to
meet with me whenever I have questions or need to check in on my
sons' progress. I've been very happy with how they have handled
the situation and provided necessary support.
We did the BUSD assessment and it was a fine, free start but much
lacking compared to the independent professionals we saw for
assessments afterwards. I definitely recommend you do the BUSD
one but don't delay in learning scheduling with the Dev Ped. Dr
Berman, who we really like, has a huge wait to get in. There are
qualified psychologists around too. Learn to maximize his rights
under your medical benefits so it won't cost as much.
This sounds similar to the situation with with son, who had
severe auditory processing deficit, and though very bright,
couldn't make much sense out of language (or generate many
words). His lack of being able to communicate compounded his
social problems (some people thought he had ADD). Don't rely
on just the school district; please contact Dr. Brad Berman at
925-279-3480. He's at 3021 Citrus Circle in Walnut Creek, and
arrange to have your son assessed. Having an IEP done by the
school district can help, and your child is eligible for
services from the district even while in pre-school, but you
have to FIGHT AGGRESSIVELY for every service every year, and
independent assessments help. The district will typically give
you 2-30 minute speech therapy sessions a week, and maybe one
30-minute occupational therapy session, with some special ed
resource work thrown in. It really isn't enough, even if
you're doing a lot of support work at home with your child (and
you need to do a lot of work with your son at home as well).
You might also want to talk with speech therapist Deborah
McCloskey in Berkeley on 9th Street. Her phone number is 510-
704-9360. Good luck. Early intervention , and LOTS of it, can
make a huge difference! Your medical insurance, if you have it,
may cover some level of service, and there may be resources
which will provide you with services on a sliding scale. We put
5 years of intensive work in with my son, but he is an honor
roll student heading for college, and has been acting semi-
professionally for 5 years, so his language problems have
Our 5 year old son also had some ''off'' social and other
behaviors. Nothing too serious but just some behaviors that
sometimes interfered with his daily life. We finally ended up
talking to a therapist who told us he has sensory processing
difficulties. Now that I know more about this,it totally fits
my child. Most of the time children with these difficulties
see occupational therapists. School districts do not usually
look for this or treat it. I would encourage you to read the
book ''The Out of Sync Child'' and pursue an occupational therapy
evaluation to see if this possibly affects your son. My son is
doing really well now and I attribute it to his OT therapy and
our new awareness.
The district will assess your child to the depth that THEY need
to determine if he ''qualifies for services'' through the
district. This is a good thing, as they may have a preschool
option that would help. (I'm in Oakland, not Berkeley, and
would recommend Tilden Preschool if you were in our district -
perhaps you can get a transfer for preschool?)
That said, I would also recommend that you ALSO spend the $ to
get an independent assessment, to help you decide what
additional work YOU would do with your child. We were in
exactly the same place you are at exactly the same age, 8 years
ago. We spent the $ up front to load on services while he was
young, and it's really made a huge difference.
We work with Dr. Brad Berman in Walnut Creek. I'm sure the
waiting list is long, so you may want to look around for other
options. I'm happy to suggest offline if you would like to
contact me directly through the moderator.
- Language-delay mom
I'm wondering about how to best help a 3 year old girl whom i
know who seems very delayed. She barely talks, mostly
communicating by grunting, does not run and seems generally very
slow developmentally. Her parents are good to her, but are very
young and have little money or support. They live in San
Francisco and I believe have medi-cal. I'd like to help with
getting her an assessment and any special help that she could
benifit from but am unsure how or where to start. Any advice
would be much appreciated. Thanks.
HI! So glad you're concerned enough to help. Once a child has
reached the age of 3, they are assessed through their local
school district. If she's under 3, then the local regional
center will conduct an assessment. Either way, it's free.
Simply contact the school district, explain the concerns and
they'll ''eventually'' schedule an assessment. If this was a
family with more financial resources, I'd encourage an
independent evaluation from an outside psychologist simply to
expedite the process. But, given that is not the case, the
local school district is the way to go. Also, definitely have
them raise concerns with their doctor, especially if there's any
chance she's deaf The doctor will help make referrals, but you
have to be persistent.
Contact me any time if you have any questions. Best of luck.
Have the parents call the San Francisco Co Special Education
Department 415-242-2670. Ask for a preschool speech and
language assessment appointment to see if the child is eligible
for free early intervention services through the public school
Regional Centers are located around the state to help people and
families of people with developmental disabilities or delays.
Young children, such as the one you mentioned, can be screened
and they and their families can receive early interventions.
The website for the one that serves SF is:
There is a federally sponsored program available in all states
that's called Early Intervention (in CA it's called ''Early
Start''). It's designed to help parents get help for their
children 0-3 years who may have developmental delays or
problems. If the child qualifies (shows I think 33% delay in
one area or 25% delay in 2 developmental areas) they can be
accepted into the program. They assess the child and offer
services to help if a diagnosis is made. And the services are
free. Information is available through the Department of
Developmental Services -- or at
Hope this helps.
The State, through local school districts offers free speech and
language evals/therapy. I'm in Oakland and I have a child with
some articulation problems; I just called the school district and
set up an appointment for an evaluation. Again, FREE. Hard to
beat. The kid has to be 3-5 y.o. I think. So call the SF School
The local school district is legally obligated to assess her 3-year-old to
see if she gets free services--including schooling and therapy--from
them. I believe San Francisco Unified's special education department is
Oakland special ed parent
Ok, we just learned about this because my 3 yr old has a
speech delay (verbal dysfluency).
It takes a lot of work...more than just love.
And it looks like you have her best interest at heart!
First, they need to take her to thier pediatrician to get a
referral for an assessment. The pediatrician will direct them
to a therapist. The first assessment is free. It will determine
how little and/or how much she understands/knows. They
use pictures and games and simple tests. (Make sure they
take her way before her nap or after. We took my daughter
right before her nap and it's a whole hour of tests and she
got tired and bored and edgy.)
There are breaks in between each test so, the child has a
chance to regroup and play a little.
What the test determines is where she should be as far as
her age group and what the average child that age is
expected to know/understand. Then they will recommend an
amount of days per week to come in and start therapy
based on how much 'work' she needs.
This website really helped: http://www.speech4kids.com/
She sends info via email that's really helpful. Nothing to buy
just creative advice.
Now that we've gone though the process of how to get
therapy, here's the part where they have payment options.
If Medi-Cal covers it, then they're all set. If not, they can go
through the school district (which is what were going to do).
The school district provides FREE therapy to children who
will be attending public school for kindergarten, etc. Just call
the Unified School District and they will direct your call to the
proper authority. Everyone is very nice and non-judgemental.
They will send packets of info and forms and then the
process will be well on it's way.
And hopefully, their little girl will be too!
Hope this info helps!
I have a 3 yr old who is also delayed. I am very surprised that
doctor's have not caught on this little girls delays, there is
alot of help out here.
you can refer her to Support for Families in San Francisco, they
are out in the misssion district on 22nd.
Also there is Golden Gate Regional Center in Howard St.
If I can be of any assistance e-mail me and i'll give you my
info. you are right she should be getting assesed and right now
is the time to have her start in special day classes in the
mornings. it's very important. good luck
I have two kids with disabilities who have been in special
education in the Oakland public schools. Their delays were
identified in time to get them into special education before
kindergarten (one started at about 3 and one at 4). That was
good in that it was a free and stimulating pre-school
environment and therapists were assigned to help them with
speech and motor skills. The only kids in public schools pre-K
(to my knowledge) are those at risk either for economic reasons
or delay. The first step is to have a parent call their school
district and request an assessment. That is paid for by the
school district and a child is entitled to services at age 3.
Mary in Oakland
I am concerned that my 11 month old baby is quite behind physically in
his development. It seems that there are many things he should be able to do by now that he isn't doing. I am wondering if anyone has a recommendation for a specialist whom I can take him to for an evaluation.
I recommend Veronica Daly, M.D., at Children's Hospital
Oakland. Dr. Daly spent a generous amount of time with
our son and was able to direct us to appropriate (and
wonderfully helpful) therapists, educational programs,
and funding sources. She even called our home a few
times to check on his progress, and we go back for
follow-up appointments every so often. It was a relief
to find such a caring and knowledgable specialist.
For comprehensive testing, Children's Hospital's Child
Development Center (Dr. Veronica Daley is who we saw)
or Regional Center of the East Bay (this can take
awhile). At this age, perhaps a Physical Therapy
Evaluation at Herrick Hospital to get started if the
above are taking too long. Drop by the Family Resource
Network (next to Bananas) for other referrals. Good luck.
this page was last updated: Jun 29, 2008
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