As part of Play & Learn’s commitment to supporting children’s development, our teachers are trained in conducting Ages and Stages Developmental and Social Emotional Screenings for children. Every child is screened with a developmental screening within 45 days of attending our program. Our teachers first choose the age-appropriate screening for each child and then respond to a variety of questions on the developmental screening. Teachers will partner with families if they are unsure of an answer so that each child’s screening is as accurate as possible. The Ages and Stages screening tool is a questionnaire that reviews five areas of development:
- “Communication: Your child’s language skills, both what your child understands and what he or she can say.”
- “Gross Motor: How your child uses his or her arms and legs and other large muscles for sitting, crawling, walking, running, and other activities.”
- “Fine Motor: Your child’s hand and finger movement and coordination.”
- “Problem Solving: How your child plays with toys and solves problems.”
- “Personal-Social: Your child’s self-help skills and interactions with others.”
Screening young children can support their development by both identifying their strengths to build upon and by identifying any concerns in development. Our teachers will share the results of the developmental screening with families and if there is a concern in development, will further partner with families by asking them to complete the full developmental screening and by adding on the ASQ Social Emotional screening to find out even more about the child. Once teachers and families partner together on completing both screening tools, our Directors support a referral process to early intervention if needed.
Every child in America is entitled to free early intervention services if the child meets eligibility requirements based on each state’s criteria. In Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, these services are divided according to age groups and eligibility requirements as described below:
Birth to 33 months of age:
A child is eligible for Early Intervention services by meeting one of the following criteria:
- 25% delay and/or 1.5 Standard Deviations below the mean (depending on testing tool) in one or more areas of development
- A specialist’s determination that there is a delay not measured by available assessments, and the delay results in functional limitations of the child’s daily activity (Informed Clinical Opinion)
- Known physical or mental conditions which have a high probability for developmental delays (such as Down Syndrome).
Eligibility for Early Intervention services is not based on the financial status of a child or family, and are only based on the findings of the evaluation.
33 months to Kindergarten age:
In order to become eligible for Early Intervention preschool services, children of this age group must exhibit 1) a developmental delay of 25 percent or a qualifying disability and 2) require specially designed instruction.
In addition to the educational screenings your child receives as part of their early childhood experience, when you take your child to the doctor for well visits, you should ask your doctor what type of screening tool they use and what input do they have about your child’s development. Screening should occur at 9 months, 18 months, and 30 months of age. These screenings ensure that any delays or behavior concerns are identified and addressed as early as possible.
Learning that your child may have a developmental delay can be worrisome and sometimes families want to take a “Let’s wait and see.” approach. As early childhood educators who care deeply about children’s success in school, we hope families will always take the “Let’s rule it out or find out” approach because we know how vital the early years are for optimal brain development during the first five years of life. Our teachers and Directors will partner with you each step of the way as you go through the process by providing information to the early intervention team(with your permission) and by answering your questions about the process.
Below are additional resources for more information on developmental milestones and screenings.
This article provides information on developmental monitoring, developmental screenings, early intervention services, and more:
The link below provides information and links to downland for the CDC’S Milestone Tracker App (this app can help you monitor your child’s development and keep track of doctor’s appointments and more):