"It's important to remember that an evaluation is not a test that a child either passes or fails. They are a way of letting you know what your child does well and where he or she may need some help." - The NC Infant-Toddler Program, Parent Handbook
Not so much because I felt like she wasn't capable of developing properly but more so because I had doubts about whether I was providing her with enough opportunities to grow and thrive (mentally, physically, socially, etc.). I was specifically concerned about her cognitive development.
The evaluation was conducted in our home shortly after breakfast (9 am) and lasted for about two hours. A clinician, coordinator and physical therapist were all present. During the test they simply pulled out different toys/books and played with Madison all while evaluating and interacting with her. I was asked different questions about our routine and was there to encourage her and help when necessary.
The evaluation was used to determine Madison's level of functioning in each of the following developmental areas:
- Cognitive development (i.e. understanding, particularly of language; speech, etc.)
- Physical development (i.e. gross motor function, fine motor function, vision, hearing, etc.)
- Communication development
- Social-emotional development
- Adaptive development
It was a fairly easy, and comfortable, process that didn't feel like an evaluation for either of us. I was actually surprised by how comfortable and approachable Maddie was towards each of our guests. At the end of the evaluation they went through all of her "scores". She passed all areas with some scores being off their charts (literally); however, she did not pass the understanding of language portion of the cognitive development test.
At the end of the day this was really an evaluation of me, in my opinion. I in no way felt those scores to be a reflection of what Maddie is capable of since I am certain that she is willing and able to learn. I've seen it over the last few days when I've challenged her through fun, interactive activities or when we've asked her to say or do certain things.
But, I am glad we did the evaluation and I actually recommend it, especially if you have doubts about your child's development, but even if you don't. There is no cost to have your child evaluated (at least not in NC) and it's a way to see where your child's strengths and weaknesses lie. You can then decide what you do with that information. I chose to do a little research and work towards designing a program specifically for Madison and her developmental needs. However, you can always use the infant-toddler program that your state provides where specific specialized therapists are sent to the home (weekly, bi-weekly, etc.) to strengthen the areas where your child may need help (Note: there is a cost associated with this part of the program).
This evaluation was truly just what they said it would be, a way for me to see where I should focus more heavily and push myself to fully engage and educate my daughter as much as I can...so long as it's fun :)!
I want her to love reading just as much as I do, love physical activity just as much as her father and simply love learning, in general! I hope you'll stick around as I share what I'm learning and what we're doing on this early education journey. Hopefully, I'll have our curriculum fully mapped out soon and will be sharing it, and the resources we'll be using as well.
I'd love for you to share any resources and information that you use or come across!