This post is authored by Don Peek, a former educator and past president of the training division of Renaissance Learning. He now runs The School Funding Center, a company that provides grant information and grant-writing services to schools. To learn more, or to subscribe to the School Funding Center Grant Database, go to schoolfundingcenter.
Disability: Developmental Delay
Children develop many skills in their early lives. Parents often worry that their children are not turning their heads quickly enough, crawling at the proper time, or beginning to speak at a certain age. While many of the time parents’ concerns are overblown, it is good for parents to regularly check their child’s progress and make sure the child is indeed developing properly.
The development of each of these skills is often called a developmental milestone. Two children born at the same time may develop certain of these skills months apart, but both should develop the skill within a particular range of time. It’s when these skills are not being developed properly or within this broad range that parents should begin to take action.
A parent’s first step should be to take the child to a pediatrician. Most of us are so tuned in to using the Internet these days, it is likely that a parent will have already researched developmental delays and the proper timeframes for children to develop certain skills before they ever consider going to the expense of taking the child to a pediatrician. All of that research is fine, but a competent pediatrician can give a parent certain assurances. Doctors are very aware that children do not develop at the same pace, and while some children show slow steady growth, others have bursts of development which allow them to catch up with other children.
However, the pediatrician may see true signs of developmental delay and suggest the parent have the child go through developmental screening. This evaluation should be done by a highly trained professional and should show the strength and weakness of a child in five areas:
1) Physical development
2) Cognitive development
3) Communication development
4) Social or emotional development
5) Adaptive development
The results of this evaluation should be used to determine if a child needs early intervention services. These services are a very important resource to children who experience developmental delays. These services may include assistive technology, hearing services, language services, counseling and training for the family, medical services, nursing services, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and/or psychological services.
States have an obligation to help children experiencing developmental delays. The Child Find system operated by each state can assist with screenings and evaluations. These are usually performed free of charge. A pediatrician typically makes the referral to the state’s Child Find system.
Once a child reaches the age of three, the local public school system has the responsibility to evaluate a child with signs of developmental delays and to provide services to children who are determined to actually have developmental delays. This responsibility is defined in IDEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Again, parents with children under three should contact their pediatrician for a referral to the state’s Child Find system for evaluations and services. If their children are three or older, those parents should contact the local public education authorities for evaluation and services.
It is not uncommon for parents to worry about their children not crawling, walking, or talking when they feel they should. If, however, a child is not developing within certain broad guidelines easily found on multiple sites on the Internet, parents should get their children to a pediatrician to begin the evaluation process to truly determine whether a child has developmental delays and needs special services to remedy those delays.
Grant Name: IWP Foundation Educational Grants
Funded by: Innovating Worthy Projects Foundation
Description: Giving on a national basis; giving internationally if agency is recognized by the United Nations to provide support primarily for the education, service, and care of disabled and special needs children, and pre-school programs. No grants to individuals.
Program Areas: Community Involvement/Volunteerism, Early Childhood, General Education, Health/PE, Math, Reading, Science/Environment, Social Studies
Recipients: Private School, Other
Proposal Deadline: 12/31/12
Average Amount: $1,000.00 – $8,000.00
Availability: All States