How are children with exceptional needs diagnosed and early interventions implemented?
There is no one standardized procedure that is followed for all children and all instances of developmental needs because every situation presents unique circumstances. In some cases, an infant's development and growth reveals areas of concern based on deviations from the expected patterns in growth or acquisition of new abilities. In other cases, a child's exceptional needs may not be demonstrated until s/he begins preschool or school activities and exhibits abnormal needs in that setting.
Whenever a concern arises about the possibility that a child may require specialized support services in order to grow and thrive, the child's parents/guardian or physician have the responsibility to request specific evaluation of the child's disability.
Tests attempt to identify the cognitive (academic), social, or physical tasks that the child has difficulty performing and why the difficulty exists, i.e., what disability or disabilities are present. Tests may include: reading, writing, spelling, and math tests; psychological or intelligence tests; speech and language; vision and hearing tests; or an examination by a physician.
After information has been gathered from evaluation procedures, an Individual Education Plan (IEP) can be developed to address the specific needs identified by the testing. Parents, teachers, counselors, therapists, psychologists, and others may be included in the IEP team, depending upon the nature of the exceptionalities being addressed and the interventions that will be used to begin addressing those needs.