Understanding the Purpose of a Developmental Evaluation

Purpose of Developmental Evaluations

Per the CDC - A brief test using a screening tool does not provide a diagnosis, but it indicates if a child is on the right development track or if a specialist should take a closer look. If the screening tool identifies an area of concern, a formal developmental evaluation may be needed. This formal evaluation is a more in-depth look at a child’s development, usually done by a trained specialist, such as a developmental pediatrician, child psychologist, speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, or other specialist. The specialist may observe the child, give the child a structured test, ask the parents or caregivers questions, or ask them to fill out questionnaires. The results of this formal evaluation determines whether a child needs special treatments or early intervention services or both.

WHO: Developmental pediatrician, child psychologist, or other trained provider

WHAT: Identify and diagnose developmental delays and conditions

WHY: To find out (a) if your child needs specific treatment and/or (b) if your child qualifies for early intervention

HOW: With a detailed examination, formal assessment tools, observation, and checklists from parents and other caregivers, often in combination, depending on the area of concern

Little Peach Education's Qualifications

  • Per the state of Georgia (Rule 135-12-.01), a licensed social worker [LMSW] can administer and interpret:

    • Assessment instruments to provide psychosocial evaluations

    • Assessment instruments to provide in-depth analyses and determinations of the nature and status of emotional, cognitive, mental, behavioral, and interpersonal problems or conditions

    • Educational and vocational tests, functional assessments, interest inventories, and tests that evaluate marital and family functioning

    • Mental health symptom screening and assessment instruments that evaluate emotional, mental, behavioral, and interpersonal problems or conditions, including disability

  • In addition to being a licensed social worker, Catherine has extensive training and expertise in the area of early intervention and early childhood special education assessments and qualifies as an Early Intervention Specialist and Preschool Diagnostician. She is able to administer traditional early childhood assessments that seek to inform developmental delays in the cognitive, adaptive, motor, communication, and social-emotional domains, in addition to assessments that are within the scope of an LMSW.

  • Results of your child’s developmental assessment can be used for IFSP and IEP eligibility (if certain delays are found, these are known as Significant Developmental Delay or SDD up until age 8), development of child and family outcomes, and program/intervention planning.

  • The developmental evaluation can occur to assist your family in planning and caring for your child, determining what services you may consider both privately and publicly available, and assist you in advocating for your child and your family during the IFSP and IEP process.

Little Peach Educational Services does not perform psychological evaluations and does not provide medical or clinical diagnoses.

Assessment Measures

Little Peach Education uses a combination of the following measures to perform developmental evaluations:

  • Developmental Assessment of Young Children, 2nd Edition (DAYC-2)

  • Developmental Profile, 4th Edition (DP 4)

  • Battelle Developmental Inventory, 3rd Edition (BDI-3)

  • Assessment, Evaluation, and Programming System for Infants and Children, 3rd Edition (AEPS 3)

  • Measure of Engagement, Independence, and Social Relationships (MEISR)

  • Life Skills Progression (LSP)

  • Authentic Observations

The Evaluation Process

Steps in the Process

  1. Inquire about scheduling a developmental evaluation

  2. Fill out and sign required forms and schedule intake appointment

  3. Complete intake appointment & complete initial payment towards total cost of evaluation

  4. Schedule evaluation appointment and complete remaining payment towards total cost of evaluation, prior to or on the date of the evaluation

    • A payment plan can be created if needed

  1. Attend and actively participate in the evaluation appointment

  2. Schedule feedback session

  3. Receive report and review results during feedback session

Intake Appointment Information

Routines-Based Interview

  • During the intake appointment, we utilize components of the routines-based interview (EIEIO) where together, we will go through the “everyday” aspects of your family’s life.

  • Some questions may look like:

    • How does your day begin?

    • What is your child doing? What is everyone else doing?

  • These questions help identify areas that you may or may not realize are a strength or a concern for your child and family.

  • These questions also identify potential child and family outcomes as well as times during the day that interventions can occur (both in the home and in the classroom).

What are Routines?

  • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 Part C (Early Intervention Services) stipulate that services occur in the natural environment, to the greatest extent possible.

  • Part of the natural environment are the daily routines and activities that occur - these can look like:

    • Toileting

    • Mealtimes

    • Playing outside

    • Transitioning from one part of your day to another (leaving the home or moving from mealtime to naptime)

Babies Can't Wait

Babies Can’t Wait Eligibility Evaluations follow the Babies Can’t Wait process, including being at no-cost to the family - if you are wanting an eligibility determination evaluation through Babies Can’t Wait, please contact your local Babies Can’t Wait office.

Common Questions

Evaluation process questions

How long does an evaluation take?

The evaluation process includes a 30-60 minute intake appointment, estimated 120 minute evaluation appointment (with the potential for additional observations/appointments if needed), and a 30 minute feedback session.

I want to do my evaluation via telehealth, is that possible?

Yes we can do your evaluation via video conferencing platform. Please note at this time we use Google Meet as our video platform, which is has some security protections but may not cover all HIPAA protected information. You will have to sign a Telehealth Agreement form in order to do video conferencing.

Do I need to go to a clinic for the evaluation?

Our evaluations occur in the natural environment - your home, the childcare center, or in a familiar community setting.

We have a family member or a babysitter who watches my child during the day, or my child goes to a childcare center - will you need to talk with them?

All of your child's caregivers' inputs are welcome! If you'd like a family member or babysitter to attend the evaluation appointment, please invite them!

If you'd like your child's childcare provider to provide input, your evaluator may schedule an additional visit to see your child in their classroom/home-based daycare, schedule a phone call, or have them fill out a questionnaire

How long after the evaluation do we receive a report or can speak with you about the results?

Currently we are averaging 2-3 weeks, with a maximum of 4 weeks, for you to receive your report and complete the feedback session, however, it may happen quicker than that.

Katie Beckett/TEFRA Deeming Waiver Evaluations occur at an expedited timeline.

Evaluations through Babies Can't Wait will follow the Babies Can't Wait process.

Multidisciplinary evaluation

I would like for my child to have an expanded evaluation for communication concerns, in addition to an overall developmental evaluation - can this happen?

Yes! We partner with HomeTele SLP who can do their speech/language evaluation, alongside your child's developmental evaluation through Little Peach Education - this actually creates an even more descriptive and informed report for both Little Peach Education and HomeTeleSLP.

Meridith, owner of HomeTele SLP, and Catherine met in the Georgia Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (GaLEND) program and immediately connected over their love of early intervention and services for our state's youngest children. We are excited to be able to serve your child in a multidisciplinary fashion.

Currently Little Peach Education only has the capacity to perform evaluations for overall development and communication - we are working on partnerships to include other areas such as motor and sensory.