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Early intervention

At a Glance: What an Early Intervention Evaluation Looks At

By Amanda Morin

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When children are referred for an early intervention evaluation, professionals assess their skills and development to get a sense of their trouble spots. Here are the five basic areas they evaluate.

38Found this helpful
At a Glance: What an Early Intervention Evaluation Looks At

Early intervention services can help young children with developmental delays or learning and attention issues. An early intervention evaluation looks at these five different areas of development.

Physical
What it includes: Vision, hearing, gross motor skills (large muscles), fine motor skills (small muscles), response to stimuli (such as textures and tastes)
What it can look like for babies: Holding up head, rolling over, sitting up, crawling, picking up and using objects with different textures
What it can look like for toddlers: Running, jumping, climbing stairs, kicking a ball, using utensils and crayons, tolerating different smells, sounds, foods and textures

Cognitive
What it includes: Thinking, learning and problem-solving
What it can look like for babies: Paying attention to faces, recognizing people, and being curious about and exploring the world
What it can look like for toddlers: Following simple directions, identifying and using objects, making sense of new things

Communication
What it includes: Using language to express self and understanding what people are saying
What it can look like for babies: Babbling, imitating sounds, responding to name, using gestures to communicate (such as shaking head “no”)
What it can look like for toddlers: Using words and sentences, naming objects, expressing emotion

Social Emotional
What it includes: Playing, feeling secure, making friends, being around and working with other people
What it can look like for babies: Smiling, having stranger anxiety, reacting to and being comforted by a caregiver
What it can look like for toddlers: Playing near and with other kids, imitating what others do and say, throwing temper tantrums, helping caregivers and siblings

Adaptive
What it includes: Having self-care skills and being independent
What it can look like for babies: Holding and drinking from a bottle or cup, feeding self
What it can look like for toddlers: Being able to get dressed, having toilet training and basic hygiene skills
Graphic of At a Glance: What an early intervention evaluation looks at
Graphic of At a Glance: What an early intervention evaluation looks at

About the Author

Portrait of Amanda Morin

Amanda Morin is a parent advocate, a former teacher and the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.

Reviewed by

Portrait of Virginia Gryta

Virginia Gryta, M.S., teaches and mentors students working toward master’s degrees and certification in special education at Hunter College.

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