The purpose of a screening is to find out if there are areas of concern that need evaluation. If an evaluation is not found to be necessary, therapists will give parents and/or teachers suggestions to work with the child to address areas of concern. Sometimes therapists will suggest a re-screening in the future.
A screening involves a therapist broadly and informally looking for age appropriate skills. The therapists will talk to the parent and/or teacher about what they see at home and/or school, as well as why they are concerned. Screenings are based primarily on observation and parent report, do not include standardized testing, and are less detailed than a full evaluation. All screenings are free of charge and last about a thirty minutes to an hour.
Physical Therapy screenings look at children’s gross motor skills like mobility, walking, balance, and leg and trunk strength by observing how they play and move.
Occupational Therapy screenings look at fine motor abilities, upper body strength, muscle tone, visual tracking and eye/hand coordination. They also look at the sensory system and how it is affecting attention, self-regulation, behavior, and motor skills.
Speech Pathology screenings look broadly at age appropriate speech sounds, pronunciation, clarity, understanding, and use of language as well as oral motor strength and feeding skills.
The purpose of an evaluation is to gain specific information about the child’s current skills that will aid therapists in developing goals and a treatment plan.