Saturday, August 13, 2016

Assessments: Do they really matter for young children?

Short answer...yes!

Why are they important?
Each time your take your child to the pediatrician they do a quick developmental screening on your child. This is why they ask you if they are walking, running, can go up stairs, starting to read, know letters and colors, etc. These short assessments catch major developmental concerns, however it is important to do more in-depth assessments to make sure you child is developing appropriately. 

What types of assessments do you recommend? 
Your young child (under kindergarten age) should receive regular assessments to monitor a variety of developmental areas including: speech/language, motor function, social/emotional, and cognitive development. 

Where can you get screenings? 
Some counties offer screenings through their health departments, some through health fairs and other community action agencies. In addition your child's doctor should be able to run screenings. The other place your child should be receiving screenings is at their daycare/child care center. All center's entering, or belonging to, the SUTQ program, or those that wish to meet the needs of all of their students, should be running annual screenings, with further screenings if needed, to advise parents on how to best improve their child's development. 

What screenings does WOW offer?
All the children at WOW receive a variety of ongoing screenings. 
DECA: We currently run a social/emotional screening called the DECA on all children. This screening spots problems and gives all the parents information on how to improve the emotional resilience of their children. This screening is done once a year and has follow up screenings if concerns arise. Within the next year we will also be providing parents with a home screening for their children that will give parents even more resources.
Brigance: This screening monitored the cognitive function of all children. This screening is also done once a year and follow up is done on students who need additional help in one or more areas. 
COR Advantage: COR Advantage (NOT THE COMMON CORE) is a system of observing students that is used with the HighScope curriculum. This system is more of a "report card" that tells you how your child is doing in a variety of areas. It is an ongoing system that our teachers use year round. We have three grading periods during the year where you will receive the results of your child's observations done during the past few months. Since it is a rolling system, your child will not be assessed in a short time period-instead it gives a complete view of development over time. We offer all parents a time to talk with their teachers after the assessment results are processed. This system is extremely important for us to plan our curriculum and lesson plans. It helps develop an educational plan for each individual student!

What should I do if I am have concerns?
First step is to call your pediatrician! Most pediatricians will be able to write you a referral for further follow up. You can also call your county's board of developmental disabilities. They may have resources that you can use to get your child the help they need. Early intervention is the key to finding problems and helping-early intervention has been shown in studies to be the single most important factor to keeping children at the same level as their peers. 

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