As parents, we sometimes have many questions about our child’s development. Are they on track for their age? What happens if my child is not developing on schedule? Where do I go for help? Children go through many developmental stages that are important to their growth. Knowing the skills that your child should be able to do at different ages and stages will help you know if your child is on track developmentally.
You play an important role by providing support and activities that can help your child master the various developmental tasks. All in all, no one knows your child better than you do and if you have any concerns about your child’s development, it’s important that you speak with your child’s doctor about your concerns and/or contact your local early intervention program.
If you have concerns about your child’s development, it’s important to write your concerns down on a piece of paper so you don’t forget what to share with your child’s doctor during the visit. Tell the doctor that you have concerns at the start of the visit and share your concerns.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that developmental and behavioral screening be done at regular well-check visits at ages: 9 months, 18 months and 24 or 30 months or whenever there is a concern. Ask the doctor about your child’s developmental screening.
If the doctor has concerns about your child’s development, ask the doctor to connect you with your local early intervention program or school district. However, please note that you do not need a referral from your doctor to connect with these programs. In fact, anyone can make a referral, including parents, family members, daycare providers, and so forth. The first step is to discuss your concerns with your child’s doctor.
You can also call the local regional center or school district to request an evaluation for your child.
Below are some great tools offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which include easy to use checklists, tips, activities, and what to do if you have concerns: http://bit.ly/CDCChecklist
If your child is birth to age 36 months:
Contact your local early intervention program, Early Start. The early intervention services for San Diego County is the Regional Center. All children age’s birth through 36 months will be evaluated to determine eligibility for services. To find the local regional center, please click here: https://www.dds.ca.gov/rc/rc362.cfm
First 5 San Diego’s – Healthy Development Services (HDS):
Provides no cost developmental and behavioral services for children age’s birth through 5 years who have not yet entered kindergarten. Services include: developmental services, parent workshops, care coordination, and behavioral services. To learn more about HDS and eligibility, please click here: https://first5sandiego.org/healthy-development-services/
If your child is 3 years or older:
Call any local public elementary school and ask to speak to someone who can assist you with special education services. Inform the person you speak with that you have concerns about your child’s development and would like to have your child evaluated through the school system for special education services. If the person on the phone is unfamiliar with special education, ask to speak with the district’s special education director.
Once the referral has been made, the regional center or local education agency will assign a services coordinator to assist you through the evaluation and assessment process, including obtaining parental consent for evaluation. If your child is eligible for services, an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) or Individualized Education Plan (IEP) will be developed that addresses the strengths, and needs of your child, parental concerns, and early intervention services.
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If you have concerns about your child’s development, don’t wait. The earlier you act can make a huge difference for you and your child. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions at 619-427-4411 ext. 1416 or by email at [email protected]
CDA Family Resources Supervisor