Child & Family Development Child & Family Development

November 17, 2014

The Value of Comprehensive Evaluations

As an Educational Specialist at Child and Family Development in Charlotte, I consult with parents about their child‚Äôs difficulties in the classroom setting.  However, academic struggles do not always occur in isolation.  In fact, as I review children‚Äôs background information, I frequently find that the parents have concerns in other developmental areas.  Some have even pursued answers in the form of previous evaluations, but they still have lingering questions‚Ķ

At Child and Family Development, we seek to understand the whole child.  As a part of our initial meeting with parents, we gather detailed information about the child‚Äôs birth, developmental milestones, medical history, behavioral and emotional functioning, educational background, and previous evaluations/therapies.  This input helps clinicians to determine the next step to take.

When a comprehensive evaluation is recommended, the clinicians spend time reviewing any data from prior evaluations so that we know what measures have been used and what findings were made at the time.  However, our comprehensive evaluations seek to take those results to the next level.  Oftentimes, a struggle in one area may be the cause or effect of a weakness in another area of performance.  While other tests may have examined a specific issue in isolation, we work to fill in the missing pieces so that parents can see the complete picture. 

Based on parent concerns, we establish our initial assessment measures.  These may include IQ tests, academic achievement tests, language processing tests, visual-motor tests, receptive and expressive language tests, ADHD measures, autism spectrum measures, or social-emotional scales.  However, as the clinicians move through the evaluation process, they use their observations and preliminary findings to guide the need for any further assessments.

The interpretive parent conference is an important component of the comprehensive evaluation process.  Our clinicians focus not only on the numbers that make up the results but, even more importantly, the patterns of performance and the ways in which the child’s strength and weaknesses play out in daily living.  We also refer to any previous evaluation measures to examine changes over time.  At Child and Family Development, clinicians make recommendations for further services based on our findings.  We can make the determination about whether it is appropriate to pursue therapies, such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, psychological services, or educational therapy.  We also enjoy helping parents to take our information and put it into practice by remaining available for assistance as parents work through the next steps.