Monitoring, screening and evaluating children is both necessary and takes time and practice. Rather than waiting until there is a major concern, intentional teachers should conduct observations on a regular basis to closely monitor each child’s development. By watching children, we can find patterns. Once we understand the patterns, we can better understand why children do what they do, and ideally, we can create an inclusive learning environment that meets the needs of all our children. Understanding that over half of the children in your classroom may potentially have some special need, disability, delay or impairment is crucial. Recognizing that unless we observe regularly, we won’t be able to refer families in a timely manner to get the support services and professional help that they need is essential. Research tells us that children who receive early intervention are more likely to master age-appropriate developmental milestones, have increased academic readiness and are more apt to socialize with their peers. It is important to remember that everyone in the classroom, including teachers, assistants and directors and supervisors, should be involved with monitoring a child’s development. As you continue to read this text, you will discover how observations are essential in planning effective curriculum, documenting children’s learning, assessing development and communicating with families.
Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) AIDD seeks to improve and increase services for individuals with developmental disabilities that promote independence and inclusion in society. This website contains information on AIDD’s programs and other helpful resources, such as a developmental disabilities program directory by state and grants and funding information.
American Academy of Pediatrics The American Academy of Pediatrics comprises pediatricians committed to the health of infants, children, adolescents, and young adults. The website contains general information about children’s health, as well as more specific information about guidelines, policies, and publications. This organization also hosts a website specifically for parents
Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR) The CPIR serves as a central resource of information and products to the community of Parent Training Information Centers and the Community Parent Resource Centers, so that they can focus their efforts on serving families of children with disabilities.
Department of Education The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has resources to assist with the educational needs of children with developmental disabilities.
DisabilityMeasures.org DisabilityMeasures.org is an online resource with measurement tools for assessment, screening, and research concerning individuals with disabilities.
First Signs First Signs is dedicated to educating parents and professionals about early identification and intervention for children at risk for developmental delays and disorders, including autism.
Insure Kids Now! Each state provides no-cost or low-cost health insurance coverage for eligible children through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. This website has basic facts about these programs. It also has links to each state’s insurance program for children, where you can learn who is eligible for the programs, how to apply, and what services are covered. Information is available in English and Spanish.
MedlinePlus MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, provides information on many different types of developmental disabilities, as well as resources on prevention and screening, research, statistics, law and policy, and more.
My Child Without Limits My Child Without Limits provides resources for families of young children from birth through 5 years of age with developmental delays or disabilities, as well as for professionals who work with these individuals. The site also has a national resource locator where visitors can find local service providers, community organizations, and government agencies.
National Institutes of Health (NIH) Several institutes within the NIH conduct and fund research about developmental disabilities. They also offer information to the public and educational programs for health professionals. They include:
National Eye Institute (NEI) The NEI studies ways to prevent and treat eye diseases and vision problems and to improve the lives of people with these conditions.