LDA FACT SHEET
It is important for parents and professionals to work closely together.
When parents and professionals become a team, everyone has a better
understanding of how an infant, baby or young child is responding
to the world, how he or she learns, and what he or she can do. This
type of assessment is called a developmental assessment. Through
this process parents observe their child carefully and discuss their
child's development with professionals who are experienced in working
with babies and young children and their families.
The following are guidelines for assessing infants and young children
from ages birth through three years old:
- An early childhood assessment should involve parents and professionals
working together to learn about the child. It is important and
necessary that parents and professionals work together from the
beginning to the end of the assessment process.
- This assessment should examine all facts of the baby's or young
child's development. Many factors affect the child's way of playing,
moving, eating, talking, listening, etc. Some of these factors
are the child's health, his or her temperament, his or her daily
family routines and life, his or her experiences outside of the
home, and the family's values, beliefs and traditions.
- How the child organizes his or her experiences are important.
How long does the baby or child attend to you, another person
or an interesting toy? How does he or she get what he or she wants?
How does the child get the parents to help him?
- The assessment should give a clear picture of the baby or child
in varied settings and situations. This information may come from
many people. In addition to parents and professionals, relatives,
caregivers, etc. should provide information about the child's
development. This can be done verbally, through written reports
as baby books, health records, etc. and even photographs and home
videos can be resources.
- Here are the sequential steps in the assessment of a baby or
young child's development:
- The assessment should begin with a conversation with a child
development professional. This professional should ask parents
about the child's strengths and challenges and what questions
the assessment will answer.
- Parents should tell the story of their child in their own
words. Professionals should listen carefully.
- The child is observed at home playing with his or her parents
or caregivers. If home is not available, it should be in a
familiar setting so the child is comfortable.
- The parents should watch the interactions and the relationship
between the child and the person doing the assessment. They
can observe whether the child's response is typical.
- The specific areas of development that the parents and/or
professional are questioning should be assessed as hearing,
- The professional should take the responsibility for collecting
the information and pulling it together. Then, this information
should be discussed with the parents and presented in a written
report. The original questions should be answered. In addition,
possibilities for treatment or intervention should be discussed.
- One of the most important parts of the developmental assessment
should be observation of the baby or young child doing something
he or she enjoys doing with someone the child trusts.
- The professional knowledge of the development of an infant or
toddler is necessary. The assessor must understand the sequence,
timetables, and variations of development that are typical of
children in this age group.
- This assessment should identify the child's strengths and abilities.
It should also identify the competencies that will help the child
- This assessment should be helpful. It should help parents plan
for their child.
- Ongoing monitoring and reassessment of the child's capacities
are important because young children grow so rapidly.
To Three - New Visions for the Developmental Assessment of Infants
and Young Children, 1996, 734 15th St., N.W., Suite 1000, Washington,