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Special Education

Programs that provide educational services including special placement and individualized programming, instruction and/or support services for exceptional children, youth and/or adults, including those who have hearing impairments, visual impairments, physical disabilities, learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, emotional disturbance, multiple disabilities or speech or language impairments and who need appropriately modified curricula, teaching methodologies and instructional materials in order to learn. Services may include the development, in partnership with the child's parents, of an individualized educational plan to meet the child's needs and the implementation and review at least annually of each child's plan to determine progress and future needs.

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Health Screening/Diagnostic Services

Programs that utilize one or a combination of diagnostic tools to test large groups of people who are assumed to be well for the presence of a particular disease or condition or for certain risk factors that are known to be associated with that disease or condition; or which conduct in-depth tests to establish the cause and nature of an individual's presenting illness. The purpose of screening is to identify people who have a potential problem and refer them for early diagnosis and treatment and, where possible, to provide preventive measures. Early identification is particularly important when dealing with conditions that are more difficult to treat when fully developed. The purpose of more in-depth diagnostic work is to establish a logical basis for ongoing treatment.

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Developmental Assessment

Programs that provide a comprehensive, structured evaluation of a child's cognitive/intellectual functioning, language and communication skills, independent living skills, social and emotional development and perceptual/motor functioning in order to identify individuals who show developmental delays, determine the nature and extent of the problem and recommend a course of treatment and care. Developmental assessments are generally offered by a developmental assessment specialist, or a team of professionals that can include a pediatrician, language specialist, audiologist, occupational therapist, child psychologist and child psychiatrist, among others. They involve age-adjusted questions regarding a child's growth, physical movements, behaviour, play, and interactions with family members and the rest of the world as well as a series of tests that may include a physical exam, hearing and eye screenings, play observation, and standardized tests that present the child with specific tasks to determine areas of strength and weakness. Developmental assessments are occasionally done for adults. They can also be used to identify individuals who have developmental disabilities such as intellectual disabilities, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, autism and neurological impairments, in order to develop a plan for remediation and care.

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Mental Health Evaluation

Programs that provide screening, diagnostic and treatment planning services for people who are experiencing acute or chronic psychiatric problems. Included is a continuum of assessment services ranging from a comprehensive psychiatric or psychological evaluation to the administration of one or a combination of psychological tests to examine a particular personality variable. Services may be provided in a variety of settings including hospitals and community-based clinics.

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The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.


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