Programs offered by the schools or available through public or private agencies that assess children who have been referred for the presence of a disability in order to determine their eligibility for special education and related services, and to make an informed decision about their educational placement and instruction. Information about a student's skills and needs is drawn from many sources including parents, teachers and specialists, and by using a variety of assessment approaches such as observations, interviews and testing, and methods such as dynamic assessment or ecological assessment. Included are evaluations which measure the student's social-emotional growth; independent living skills; sensorimotor, language and intellectual functioning; hearing and visual acuity; articulation and fluency; and other factors which have an effect on the student's ability to learn.
Programs that offer a procedure that is designed to identify children who should receive more intensive assessment or diagnosis for potential developmental delays. Screening tools can be specific to a disorder (e.g., autism), an area (e.g., cognitive development, language, or gross motor skills), or they may be general, encompassing multiple areas of concern; and rely heavily on parent observation. They do not provide conclusive evidence of developmental delays and do not result in diagnoses. A positive screening result should be followed by a thorough assessment. The goal of developmental screening is to allow for earlier detection of delays in order to improve child health and well-being for identified children.
Programs that identify infants, toddlers and in some cases, preschoolers who show evidence of or are at risk for lags in physical development, cognitive development, language and speech development, psychosocial development or self-help skills, and provide or coordinate the delivery of an enrichment program in order to minimize the potential for a developmental delay and to meet their current developmental needs. The program may include early identification activities (child find); a developmental evaluation; a review of family concerns, priorities and resources; meetings with the family to develop an individualized family service plan; service coordination to ensure that the individual and his or her family receive needed services which may include but are not limited to physical therapy, occupational therapy, audiology, health/medical services, nursing services, nutrition services, psychological services including specialized play groups or therapy sessions, counselling, speech and language assistance, special instructional services, transportation, and parenting skills development; and ongoing evaluation of the child's progress and his or her changing enrichment needs. Included are "birth to three" programs and federal, provincial or local programs that address the needs of slightly older children or children not otherwise eligible for "birth to three" programs.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.