Step 3: Having Your Child Evaluated
If you decide that the Early Intervention Program can help your child, the next step is to have your child evaluated. The reasons for the evaluation are to:
- Find out if your child is eligible for early intervention services; and,
- Gather facts about your child's strengths and needs that will help you make good decisions about services.
If your child has a diagnosed disability, she or he will always be eligible for early intervention services. Your child will still need a multidisciplinary evaluation to look at all areas of development and help with the development of an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP).
Every child referred to the Early Intervention Program has the right to a free multidisciplinary evaluation. Multidisciplinary simply means that more than one professional will be a part of your child's evaluation. Your child's evaluation team should have:
- A professional who can look at your child's overall development.
- A professional with special knowledge about your child's problem. For example, if your child is delayed in sitting up, walking, or other motor abilities, a motor therapist might be on your child's team.
Checklist of important evaluation information
- Types of professionals that will be on your child's team and an explanation of what they will do.
- How long the evaluation will last.
- Your child's developmental age levels and what that means.
- A diagnosis, if possible.
- Specific areas where your child needs help.
- Explanation of tests – if any – that will be used and what these tests can and cannot tell you about your child's development.
- What the evaluator is looking for in your child's responses.
- What your child does well.
- What your child needs help with, and suggestions about how you can help.
- The types of services that may help your child and family.
- The name of another parent or parent group that can offer support.
- Books, newsletters, magazines, and videos to help you find information about your child's developmental needs.