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Early Childhood Screening for Kindergarten

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi All -

We took our 3 yr 11 month year old daughter to early childhood screening that is offered by our state. I'm still trying to process the results. We of course think she is delightful, energetic, and friendly. Of their test, we scored way behind in her age and is referred to special education and currently not ready for kindergarten. Kindergarten would be September 2014 - so over a year away. Her challenges on the test included:
1. not hopping on one foot
2. not being able to repeat sentences when asked to
3. not understanding the concept of numbers - even though she can count to ten, when asked to pick 3 blocks, she doesn't understand that 3 means 3
4. not able to match shapes while drawing circle, square, and other shapes (she can match shapes by pointing if the match exists, but cannot draw the shape)
5. not able to have a back & forth conversation
6. not able to finish answers to questions like 'if a brother is a boy, then a sister is a _______'
7. Did not point out body parts when asked (she has known body parts since she was 2).
8. Was not able to answer questions like 'which is bigger/smaller: a house or a ball'

So part of me wonders if there is some issue with her performing for another person

Another part of me wonders if there really is some development issue where she cannot do what is asked

A third part of me wonders - do almost 4 year olds really know how to answer some of these questions? The one question that really got me was 'what are windows made of?' Do you point out building materials to your 3 year old?

We left with the instructions that since it is so late in the school year, there is nothing the school will do until September at which point the Special Education department will call and make an appointment.

Any comments or insights would be great.

Thank you,
post #2 of 16
My younger daughter is just slightly older than your daughter and would have no problem with those, and I don't think would have a few months ago when she was your daughter's age either. However, it doesn't sound like she needs special ed to me, personally, although I don't have any expertise in that area. Just that she isn't ready for kindergarten, which seems normal since she isn't even quite 4 yet. You said she'd go in a year, but she'd only be barely 5 then. It seems like being ready a year after that is well within the realm of normal.

The thing that sounds to my ears like the biggest question is not being able to have a back and forth conversation. But you might get more information about what is within the realm of normal and what would point to a potential need for special ed in the Special Needs Parenting forum: http://www.mothering.com/community/f/157/special-needs-parenting

I'm surprised they're doing kindergarten evaluations a full year ahead of time. I've lived in several school districts since I've had kids and I haven't seen that before. So much can change in a year. Even if she's a little behind this year, she might learn a great deal over the course of this year and be in really good shape a year from now. One of my kids had a bit of a speech delay, but one year made a huge difference in her ability to talk, and I can imagine how that would affect her ability to answer questions in a situation like this.

So I have mixed feelings, and I worry that I am not knowledgeable enough to help much. I'd definitely post in the Special Needs Parenting forum I linked to above. The parents there are a great source of information about what is a potential problem and about screenings.

Good luck!
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi Mamazee! Thank you for responding. I appreciate your answers.

For our school district/state they recommend early childhood screening be done between ages 3 & 4. I think it is to provide assistance if necessary before kindergarten starts.

The conversation issue does bother me sometimes, but I am able to have conversations with her most of the time. Her sentence structure has just recently been developing, but sometimes she has something else on her mind and that's all she talks about, so I could ask her 'what did you do today?' and she'd reply 'Cinderella!' and then start talking about the Cinderella story.
I'll check out the Special Needs group if I can find it.

post #4 of 16
So, would it be fair to say that she's capable of holding a conversation if you are talking about what she wants to talk about?

I'm not really sure that those tests really demonstrate a serious problem in a child who isn't even 4. It could just be that she was feeling shy, or wasn't interested in those particular questions. I also find it interesting the way these developmental tests tell more about what our society *wants* children to do, rather than what they necessarily *should* be able to do. When my mom started kindergarten, she wasn't expected to know numbers, letters, shapes, etc. The expectation was that she would learn those things *in* kindergarten. But she was expected to be able to walk to school with other children and no adults, and then walk home for lunch and back to school again.
post #5 of 16

I remember going to a test when I was 3.5 and failing the test. I was a painfully shy child and didn't answer any of the questions asked but I have never had special needs. How good I was socially was not what I was being tested for but incidentally that was my issue. I was always above average except in one of the grades I went down a little, I can't remember which one. Parents of children that did exceptionally well were invited to our Kindergarten class at the end of the school year. My parents were one of them.

post #6 of 16
I suggest working on those concepts then having her reassessed at the beginning of the next school year. It sounds like they used something similar to the Ages and Stages Questionnaire and it might be helpful to get one of the forms to run through yourself if you think it was a performance thing instead of an ability thing.

If she isn't initiating a conversation even at home that could be an indicator of something more serious going on and I suggest keeping an eye on that. There are lots of fun songs that encourage jumping and hopping skills available online that you can use to see if she can build the skill with exposure. A lot of the things you.listed are things to worry about only if there has been a lot of exposure to the concepts already. Jumping is part of what kids do but I have yet to see a child randomly hop on one leg without being prompted.
post #7 of 16

The evaluation she was giving is probably a really basic screening. If there are red flags, such as in your case, she is just getting further evaluation with someone MUCH more qualified to asses if she needs some assistance in any area. What stands out to me is that there may be an auditory processing issue. Perhaps she doesn't interpret language in a typical fashion and therefore isn't able to answer the questions even if she knows the answers (your examples 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 8).

post #8 of 16

I asked my two, three and four year old daycare kids those questions.  (the twos are just about to turn three...so, much older twos)


The twos and a couple of the three year olds could not copy a shape.  But, they could answer all the questions with no problem.  But, they KNOW me.  


I would not suspect a delay at all...but, mostly that she just isn't ready for kindergarten...which is fine, since it's over a year away.  When she's ready, she will probably be able to answer all those questions to a stranger.  But, right now she isn't ready to talk openly to someone she's never met before, even if that person is very nice.


I will say, that even my young twos can hop on one foot.


I don't think you need to practice anything with her.  Just give her lots of exposure to life, and people.  This time next year, I bet she will be ready to tell everyone she sees more information than they ever wanted to know.

post #9 of 16

I'm guessing by your signature she is also your oldest.  Honestly when my oldest was that age she knew most of those things but not all because she just plain hadn't been exposed.  Even at 19 she calls herself our practice child.  When she entered K they told me she didn't cut well with scissors.  Damn straight - she rarely got to cut at home because she would cut inappropriate items.  So teach her to cut.  Now you know what you guys can work on this summer, and I bet she's fine.  Count objects, not just counting.  Is the glass in the winfow cold or hot when you touch the window on the car, play hopscotch...

post #10 of 16

My edit didn't go thru, I am not sure why. Anyways, i had added that dd would have surely failed the above test at that age because she was extremely shy and fearful of strangers then. Now she isin't shy and is doing v. well at school. I don't know if your child has the stranger anxiety/shyness issue. That's something to take into account.

post #11 of 16



Here is a very basic screening checklist.  Most preschools have to do these checklists for all students.  I don't know why exactly, but I guess it's to catch issues early one before the child enters school. 

post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
HI - Thank you all for your replies. From the website it has:
Early Childhood Screening is an early look at a child's development to help identify specific needs that may interfere with learning, growth, and development. The screening is conducted by trained staff and covers the following areas:

• Fine and gross motor skills
• Speech and language development
• Cognitive and social development
• Vision and hearing
• Height and weight
• Immunizations

And it stresses that it is geared toward 3 year olds to see if they are on track to enter Kindergarten at age 5.

I played with my daughter last night and went through many of the questions which she answered with no problems. I do know there are challenges with her being able to count number of objects, even if she knows how to count to 20. (body parts, animal sounds, mommy is a girl, daddy is a boy)

I have mentioned this to a few of my close friends and already have a referral for someone else to take a look at her development. I am looking for things I can do with her now and not wait until September.

I do think part of her issue was that it was a new situation and a new person. However, I do think there are things we can work on now.

I was comforted and cheered up last night when I was watching her watch one of her favorite music videos - kids version of Petting Zoo. It's full of songs and dancing. She knows all the words to all the songs and sings with gusto and mimics the choreography.

I thought of creating the Simon Says game with her and getting my husband to play along and to our ability to involved our 9 month old too. That way maybe she can pass the test questions where she is supposed to build blocks like me, say sentences like me, draw like me, hop like me. We had fun this morning Simon Says find your nose! Simon Says find your elbow! I can point to mine, then I have baby Zack's hand point to his, then Olivia has no problem following along.

The counting will just have to come on its own as well as her drawing ability.

Thank you again.
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
One last thing though. Also from the website:
After the screening you meet with the screener for an exit interview. This interview includes information about the child’s development and addresses any questions or concerns you or the screener have at this time. Referrals are made as needed. Information about district and community programs are also made available.

I have to say the post-screening exit interview was horrible. She only went through the list of 40+ items which showed a bunch of 0's and 'not responsive' answers. I didn't think my concerns were addressed at all. A referral was made for Special education - but no information on district or community programs. I don't even know what this special education is. I think it would have been easier to accept and handle if we had a better conversation with alternatives done afterwards. All our screener kept repeating is 'she is not age appropriate in her development.'
post #14 of 16

I'm all for being proactive so I think its great you are already seeking out more information and options.


I would like to tell you that the 'trained staff' usually receives very minimal training and I've never been very impressed with them in my area. I've used them because it was require to get the screenings my kids needed to qualify for special school district services (this is termed different but probably the same as your district's special education). Once you have a screening with a professional therapist it is likely your questions and concerns will be addressed. If not, keep asking questions and getting more information.


So here is the typical process for your information -


initial screening

if red flags then more screening with speech, developmental, and occupational therapist (could be one or all, you are also free to request more than what they give you)

you will have a meeting a few weeks later to go over the therapists findings - from that point it will be established that your daughter is with in typical development or you will be given a team that will help set up a IEP (individual education plan) for your daughter. She may receive services from one more more professionals in a group or individual setting, really depends on what she needs and your district has available.


You have rights. I would suggested calling the office where the screening was done and asking them to send you a copy of your parent rights. They can't say no, they are legally obligated. This will let you know what time lines they have to respond to you, how long they have to do screening and how long to contact you with results, etc. You have the right to request or provide an advocate to help you understand and navigate the process.


It is stressful but you are already doing great. Obviously you care deeply for your daughter. Parental involvement is the most important part of the equation, IMO.

post #15 of 16

Just because they are referring you to special Ed now, does not mean your child will be in special ed classes.  After their 3rd birthday, all Early Intervention is the responsibility of the school district.  They will have a meeting with you in August/September, and set your daughter up for testing with the diagnostician.  After the testing, the diag will go over the results and either say everything is OK, or recommend further testing with whatever specialty she needs.  Then you will all get together in a BIG meeting (called an IEP) and they will give you all the results and make recommendations for what your child needs (maybe a half day once a week, or paid pre-k).  You have to agree to whatever intervention they recommend before it is implemented.  The goal of the program is to get children at a level to function in a mainstream classroom by age 5.  


I have 2 nieces who received speech therapy 2 days a week before kinder, but were both in a regular kinder class on time (one continued to receive speech, the other did not).  So do not worry about it, go ahead and schedule the testing.  Your child may not have any delays and just not react well to the 1st tester, if she does, this will set up free therapy.

post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi -

Thank you nextcommercial for the link to the other screening. Our test was some proprietary test so I couldn't take it with me. But looking through the checklist I felt much better. I find it odd though at age 4-5 they should know only 4 colors but be able to draw a triangle. I can see that my dd is behind in identifying what 2,3,4 mean and some of the drawing tasks. She's known red, blue, yellow, pink, orange, purple, grey, black, white, green since a year ago.

Yesterday we changed batteries in one of her puzzles and as I held 2 batteries in my hand I asked her how many do I have and her answer was 3. I've been asking this type of question since last summer with no progress. I am sure she will eventually get it.

All other tasks she is either completing or is NOT on the red flag list.

In some cases she is ahead - she easily skips, she speaks in 6+ word sentences, knows more colors...

At daycare, the mom their has scissor time. I thought that was really strange myself but she said it is one of the skills for kindergarten. So we bought safety scissors, keep them in a safe place, and only bring them out when we are practicing. She is able to do this. It has something to do with muscle dexterity and fine motor skills.

My husband is familiar with the IEP process as he had a severely handicapped daughter from his first marriage.

Thank you again for your input.

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