Parents typically pay close attention to developmental milestones in their babies’ lives: the first time they roll over, sit up independently, speak their first words and take those first precarious steps.
A child who does not reach certain milestones at roughly the same time as other children of the same age may have a developmental delay, and the sooner that delay is identified, the sooner the child can get the help he or she needs to succeed in social and educational situations.
Both the Parkway and Rockwood school districts offer free early childhood screenings to young children who reside within their district boundaries.
Parkway School District offers the free developmental screening for children ages 1-5.
The screenings are designed to measure the progress of a child’s speech and language, large and small muscle development and general development.
In the Parkway district, a parent educator will screen children who are younger than the age of 3 in the child’s home. Jean Manning, director of Parkway Early Childhood Education, explained that the district’s in-home screenings are largely observational, with much of the pertinent information coming from answers parents provide on the Ages & Stages Questionnaire (ASQ), a reliable tool for screening infants and young children for developmental delays.
Children aged 3-5 are screened at the Parkway Early Childhood Center, 14605 Clayton Road in Ballwin. The screenings take place in a play-based setting with small groups of children, an arrangement that enables a screener to observe a child’s interaction with other children and adults during play. Screeners evaluate children on hearing and vision, speech and language, motor development, social skills, listening and following directions. Following the screening, the screener meets with parents and provides them with the results and suggestions for furthering the child’s development at home.
In the Rockwood School District, children age 3 months-3 years are eligible to receive a free, 30-minute sensory screening that includes a review of the child’s overall health, a vision assessment and hearing screening performed by a registered nurse. The nurse reviews results with parents and sends them home with a summary.
Rockwood provides free developmental screenings for children aged 3-pre-K using the standardized DIAL-4 (Developmental Indicators for the Assessment of Learning-4) to evaluate children in the areas of motor skills, concepts, speech and language, self-help, and social-emotional development. The screening takes about 1.5 hours and includes a vision and hearing screening performed by a registered nurse. After the screening, results are provided to parents in a personal conference.
Rockwood screening locations include the Clarkson Valley Early Childhood Center, 2730 Valley Road in Chesterfield, and the Vandover Early Childhood campus, 1900 Hawkins Road in Fenton.
Developmental screenings in the Parkway School District are offered throughout the school year. To arrange for a screening, call (314) 415-6969.
In the Rockwood School District, screenings for children ages 3-pre-K typically are offered September-January; however, parents who have a specific concern about a child’s development are encouraged to call (636) 891-6200.