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Should I Wait to Get My Preschooler Evaluated?

By Elizabeth Harstad, MD, MPH

Question: My daughter is in preschool and is having a tough time following directions and participating in circle time. Is that common for kids this age? Is it too early to request an evaluation?

Answer:

There’s no “right” time to request an evaluation—and preschool isn’t too early. If you’re on the fence, there are steps you can take to make it easier to decide.

Start by reaching out to your child’s teachers. Find out why circle time seems to be challenging for your child. Ask the teachers what they see as your child’s strengths and areas of difficulty.

For example, you could ask the teacher:

  • “Does my child understand what you’re asking?”

  • “Does my child seem to understand, but then forgets what to do?”

  • “How does my child’s behavior compare to the way other kids act?”

  • “Are you concerned about my child’s behavior?”

Getting specifics from teachers—and letting them know if you’re seeing any of these behaviors at home—can be helpful for both of you. You can also talk with your child’s health care provider about what’s going on.

Learn more about the evaluation process. But more importantly, trust your gut. If you’re worried, an evaluation can help you shake off that feeling of not knowing. You’ll learn about your child’s difficulties and strengths. No matter the result, that information will help you figure out how to help your child thrive.


It may also help to check out some of the reasons kids can have trouble following directions. Then explore  tips on how to help your child follow directions.

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  • Coming soonGoogle Classroom