Developmental assessments are designed to identify problems or delays during normal childhood development. When applied, assessments for developmental or behavioral problems in children allow for improved outcomes due to the potential for an early implementation of treatment.

Developmental delays or behavioral problems that may be identified during a developmental assessment include:

     •  Learning disabilities (such as dyslexia,
         dyscalculia and dysgraphia)
     •  Speech or language problems
     •  Autism
     •  Intellectual disability
     •  Emotional and/or behavioral conditions
     •  Hearing or vision impairment
     •  Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Christine utilizes the Griffith Mental Development Scales (GMDS) to assess the development of children between the age of two and eight. The GMDS provides information about a child’s strengths and weaknesses in all developmental areas. Findings may then be used to determine whether or not the child would benefit from additional therapeutic interventions and/or special schooling.

The six areas of development measured by the Griffiths Mental Development Scales (GMDS) include:

     1.  Locomotor Development: The Locomotor sub-scale assesses gross motor skills, including the ability to balance and to co-ordinate and control movements.
     2.  Personal-Social Development: This sub-scale measures proficiency in the activities of daily living, level of independence and interaction with other children.
     3.  Hearing and Language: This sub-scale is utilized to assess a child’s hearing, expressive language and receptive language.
     4.  Eye and Hand Co-ordination: This sub-scale focuses on fine motor skills, manual dexterity and visual monitoring skills.
     5.  Performance: Performance assesses the developing ability to reason through tasks including speed of working and precision.
     6.  Practical Reasoning: The Practical reasoning sub-scale measures a child’s ability to solve practical problems, the understanding of basic mathematical concepts and understanding of moral issues.

Identifying Potential Learning Problems:

Paying attention to normal developmental milestones for toddlers and preschoolers is very important. Early detection of developmental differences may be an early signal of a learning disability and problems that are spotted early can be easier to correct.

A developmental lag might not be considered a symptom of a learning disability until your child is older, but if you recognize it when your child is young, you can intervene early. You know your child better than anyone else does, so if you think there is a problem, it doesn't hurt to get an evaluation.

If you suspect that your child's learning difficulties may require special assistance, please do not delay in finding support. The sooner you move forward, the better your child's chances for reaching his or her full potential.

Signs and Symptoms of Learning Disabilities:

Pre-School Children:

     •  Problems pronouncing words
     •  Trouble finding the right word
     •  Difficulty rhyming
     •  Trouble learning the alphabet,
         numbers, colours, shapes, days of the
     •  Difficulty following directions or
         learning routines
     •  Difficulty controlling crayons, pencils,
         and scissors or colouring within the
     •  Trouble with buttons, zippers, snaps,
         learning to tie shoes

Children between the Age of 5 and 9:

     •  Trouble learning the connection
         between letters and sounds
     •  Unable to blend sounds to make words
     •  Confuses basic words when reading
     •  Consistently misspells words and
         makes frequent reading errors
     •  Trouble learning basic math concepts
     •  Difficulty telling time and remembering
     •  Slow to learn new skills

Children between the Age of 10 and 13:

     •  Difficulty with reading comprehension
         or math skills
     •  Trouble with open-ended test
         questions and word problems
     •  Dislikes reading and writing; avoids
         reading aloud
     •  Spells the same word differently in a
         single document
     •  Poor organizational skills (bedroom,
         homework, desk is messy and
     •  Trouble following classroom
         discussions and expressing thoughts
     •  Poor handwriting

Adapted from:
©Copyright 2018 Christine Slabbert
©Copyright 2016 Christine Darney
HPCSA Number:       PS 0119733
Practice Number:     0524980
HPCSA Number:       PS 0119733
Practice Number:     0524980