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Special Needs and Screening Programs

Sometimes parents aren’t aware of milestones their children should reach or how their child rates developmentally with peers. Child care providers spend a lot of time with your child and should be able to access your child, if you ask. If your provider suggests that a screening program might be a good idea, ask what the concerns are. However, if you don’t agree that doesn’t mean you should not seek the screening. These programs are backed by early intervention programs that can provide an individualized structure to help your child become prepared for the next milestone, while keeping them in a mainstream environment.

Various screening programs can be administered by a state agency, county health board, a local school district, or as a referral by your child’s physician. Some screening programs have components that combine survey results of parents, care-givers, and third-party observers. Some tools are used by a facility to track the progress of all children, these can be as simple as a progress conference with a ‘report card’.

In the case of situations of greater concern, having a plan to provide the best possible unified approach to care is essential for both the provider and parents. There are methods to improve communication in the case of delayed speech. Vision and hearing screenings can identify marginal situations and provide corrections that help the child progress.

When you are interviewing a provider, ask what programs they use to identify intervention needs, what agencies administer the screenings, and how they have interacted with these agencies in the past. Let them know if you have any immediate concerns, and if there are no concerns tell them that you just want to be sure any challenges would be addressed.

The primary job of your child’s care-giver is to provide a safe and nurturing environment that allows for developmental growth while preparing them for a life of learning and self-confidence. They should take an active role in the development of your child just as you would as a parent. Work with your provider and use the resources available in order to identify and address any developmental  needs.