Therapediatrics Family Center is now offering free screenings. If your child has not been meeting developmental milestones, or you have specific concerns about their language or motor development, a screening will give you the opportunity to meet with a professional who can determine if evaluation is warranted.
Our Screening Saturdays take place on the third Saturday of each month from 9 am - 12 pm, by appointment only. Since your time is precious, we require registration in order to reserve a 30-minute slot for your child.
Once your registration request is received, our intake staff will reach out to you within the next two business days to review available screening times and any questions you may have.
Why should I screen my child now, when they might “grow out of” what’s challenging them now?
According to the CDC, “early intervention services can change a child’s developmental path and improve outcomes for children, families, and communities.” This is a crucial time to intervene in areas of need before they become more ingrained pathways in your child’s brain, body, and behavior. This increases the chances of your child being able to adjust and allows them to build on a strong foundation to enhance their skills throughout their life.
You may second guess whether any treatment is necessary and if it might suggest that your child has a deficiency. More support aides children with areas they are struggling in and may even enhance the strengths they already have. If your child’s struggles are developmentally normal and don’t require any extra support, our experienced clinicians will be able to give you some peace of mind–and with no financial burden attached.
Why is getting therapy early in life so important? Can a young child even benefit from these interventions?
The early years of our life lay the foundation for how we operate in adulthood, and research has shown that difficulties in speech and other development areas has wide reaching effects. In the July 2010 issue of Pediatrics, they presented the results of a 29-year study of how speech delays impacted children’s functioning. The researchers used standardized tests to measure receptive language skills among almost 7,000 children at age 5. The results showed that children with speech delays were at a greater risk for developing social, emotional, or behavioral problems as adults. Overall, children who showed signs of delays in receptive language skills at age 5 were more likely to experience mental health problems at the age 34 than children who did not experience such delays.
This doesn’t mean that your child will definitely have these difficulties in adulthood, but it does mean that support provided now can make a difference in their later life functioning.
What is the difference between a screening and an evaluation?
The purpose of a screening is to find out if there are areas of concern that would require a formal evaluation. Screenings allow therapists to gain an initial impression of whether a child’s current developmental skills are age-appropriate. This information is discerned through speaking with the parents and direct observation and interaction with the child. Screenings are informal and do not include standardized testing or a detailed report/evaluation.
If a therapist identifies areas of concern during the screening process, they may recommend a formal evaluation to determine the goals, frequency, and duration of therapy services that would be helpful for your child. If an evaluation is not found to be necessary, therapists will give parents and/or teachers suggestions to work with the child to address areas of concern. Sometimes therapists will suggest a re-screening in the future.
A full evaluation will give you a detailed picture of your child’s abilities and needs along with recommendations for specific services and treatment goals, a screening gives you a broad sense of whether an evaluation is necessary.
What will therapists be looking for in their screening?
A Speech-Language Pathologist is looking broadly at age-appropriate speech sounds, pronunciation, clarity, understanding, and use of language as well as oral motor strength and feeding skills. The Speech and Language Screening will evaluate your child’s speech (articulation), receptive language comprehension, expressive language, voice, fluency, and oral motor schools through informal observation, as well as through partial administration of a standardized language test.
Speech and language skills and sensory motor development are necessary for academic development and effective communication. Both provide the foundation for learning. If a child is struggling, with the right help, early detection can ultimately allow them to succeed.
An Occupational Therapist is looking at fine motor abilities, upper body strength, muscle tone, visual tracking, and eye/hand coordination. They also look at the sensory system and how it is affecting attention, self-regulation, behavior, and motor skills. The Sensory Motor Screening will evaluate your child’s attention and play or social development, gross (large) and fine (small) motor skills, sensory processing, and pre-writing skills through informal observation, as well as through partial administration of a standardized assessment.
A Physical Therapist is looking at children’s gross motor skills like mobility, walking, balance, and leg and trunk strength by observing how they play and move.
What are the next steps after a screening?
After screenings are completed, a clinician will review whether a full evaluation or services are needed with parents. If further services are needed that therapist will assist parents in accessing services. If no further services are needed a clinician may make some at-home recommendations and/or talk as to whether any further screenings might be needed in the future as your child develops.
If you need advice to determine the most appropriate service for your child or have any questions about how to proceed, please contact us. We offer ongoing comprehensive treatment for speech, occupational, physical, and behavioral therapies as well as parent education and coaching.