Talk to your child's doctors about a development disability assessment

Talk to your child's doctor! A developmental disability assessment can help to know if your child has a developmental disability that impacts their learning.

They can check for physical problems and see if development is on track.

Ask them to check hearing and vision. These might be the problem. 

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Many children have trouble in school because of hearing or vision problems that no one knew about. These can be very slight but have a big effect on their learning. There are usually ways to correct these, so it's good to get them checked!

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If you're concerned that your child may have other problems, ask for a developmental disability assessment.

Development means learning new skills as a child gets older. These skills allow them to interact with their world, connect emotionally with other people, communicate their needs, and learn to take care of themselves. An assessment can help to know if they have a developmental disability that impacts their learning. If they do, a doctor's report can help strengthen the case for special education services. But the school evaluation will be the final test to see if they qualify.

Click on the link at the bottom of the page for a helpful fact sheet about talking to your doctor. 

Why is it important to identify a problem with your child's development?

  • Because there are things you can do, and it's best to start right away.

  • Once you suspect there is a problem, you can start connecting to support systems.

  • If your child has a developmental disability, there may be other supports you can get outside of school. See our other Guide: What to Do if You Think Your Child May be Different. It will give you lots more information!
  • If they have a diagnosis from a doctor, it will help later when you apply for services.

What if my child doesn't have a regular doctor?

It's very important for your child to have a regular doctor. This should be someone they see at least every year, and someone who you get to know and trust.

Click on the button below to learn more:

It's important to have a regular doctor for each member of your family! For children, this would be a pediatrician.

  • Sometimes a family doctor is called a PCP: Primary Care Physician.

  • This should be someone who you see every year, and get to know and trust.

  • It's especially important for children to have a regular doctor. Babies should see their doctor every few months to make sure they are healthy and on track with their development.

If your child does not have a doctor, here's what you can do:

  • Ask for a recommendation from your school nurse, local hospital or health center.

  • Find out which pediatricians are included in your health insurance plan.

  • Pick one and call the hospital or health center to get started. Make sure to confirm that they take your health insurance.

If you don't have health insurance...

  • See our Health Insurance Guide. It will show you how to find different health plans and apply. (Click on it to open in a new window.)