Being able to work with children and their families is a wonderful honor. Children are referred to Sethu from all across Goa and come from diverse backgrounds. To understand the child and family, a detailed evaluation is done by the developmental paediatrician or psychologist, which includes history taking and the assessment of development, behaviour and emotions. A developmental assessment helps in
- Early detection of problems
- Early intervention of these difficulties and the prevention of more serious difficulties
- Increasing parental awareness and understanding of their child
Developmental delays can often present as behavior problems and therefore every preschool child with a behavior problem undergoes a developmental assessment. The skill of being observant is crucial. Young children may not cooperate with the examination and therefore the therapist’s eyes and ears are very important!
Development is assessed in the areas of communication, large and small muscle function, cognition and learning, play, socio-emotional and self-help skills. The neurological examination gives information about the functioning of the brain, spinal cord, nerves and muscles. Hearing and vision are very important too. A variety of toys and tools are used, creating an atmosphere of play, rather than work. For school-going children with behaviour and learning concerns, further information is sought by perusing the child’s school-work and requesting a report from the teachers. School visits to observe the child at work and play amongst peers, may be performed in some situations. The multidisciplinary assessment can include more detailed evaluation of speech and language (by the speech and language therapist), behaviour (by the behaviour therapist) learning levels (by the special educator), neuro-motor function (by the physiotherapist) sensory processing (by the occupational therapist) and psychological status (by the counsellor).
Sethu has upgraded its assessment facilities for autism and the gold standards in diagnostic evaluations – the Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale (ADOS) and the Autism Diagnostic Interview (ADI) – are now available at the centre. The eventual aim of every evaluation is to arrive at a comprehensive understanding of the child and the family so that targeted interventions can be implemented.