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As a parent watching your young child grow, questions may come up about whether your child's development is typical of children the same age. You may wonder about:
This section will guide you through this process.
The skills that children gain at various stages are called developmental milestones. Milestones occur at various times and within the following areas: social, emotional, language, movement and intellectual. A child may have a developmental delay if skills are not reached within the same time range as other children of the same age. The following websites contain milestones from birth to school age:
Your concerns may come from your own observations or from others (such as family members, friends or staff at the childcare centre or school). If your child has not developed the skills described in the developmental milestones, see your child's doctor. Before the appointment, write a list of the specific skills your child has and has not reached. Preparation can go a long way to making sure that your child's doctor has essential information. The developmental milestones list can help gather and communicate information for the appointment.
There are a number of things you can do to ensure you child's doctor receives important information.
Develop a good partnership – You can work together with your doctor and develop a good partnership if you:
Based on your information and the examination, your family doctor, pediatrician or nurse practioner may make a referral for an assessment to a health professional, such as:
If an assessment shows that your child has a developmental delay, it is important to begin early intervention services. Since human learning is most rapid in early years, it is a good time to introduce developmental activities for children. If you check with your family doctor or pediatrician about concerns you have with your child's development, intervention services can begin early.
If you still have concerns, your family can consider the following options:
The Child Development Clinic (CDC) provides assessment and referral support for preschool aged children who may have developmental concerns. When families visit CDC, they may see one or several staff who specialize in child development – a developmental pediatrician, social worker, clinical psychologist, or other early childhood developmental specialist and/or therapists.
The CDC is located in Winnipeg’s Children’s Hospital at the Health Sciences Centre. For more information, contact the CDC at:
Child Development Clinic
CK253-840 Sherbrook Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3A 1S1
Phone: 204-787-2423 or 204-787-4379
The CDC is a provincial service. Rural clinics are offered in designated areas of the province on a regular basis.
A developmental assessment is an evaluation of a child’s development in various areas – motor, language, cognitive, social and emotional. It can inform specialists about the types of treatments, community resources and/or services that will support children in their ongoing development. Depending on the child and family’s needs, there may be one or more specialists involved in an assessment, including:
The specialist may give your child specific tasks to learn more about his or her strengths and weaknesses. Depending on their age and developmental concerns, activities may include
block building, puzzles, language tasks and some physical
activities and observation of your child at play.
Your main role is to provide information. Since you know your child best, the information that you share is an important part of a thorough assessment. By observing your child’s participation in the assessment activities, you can tell the specialists if what they are seeing is typical of your child. During the appointment, the specialist may ask about your child’s everyday activities, such as speaking, toileting, eating, behaviour, motor skills, sleeping and play.
The specialist performing the assessment will inform you of any items or information to bring to the appointment. For some assessments, you may be asked to complete a questionnaire on family and medical history. The type of information that you may be asked about includes:
With your consent, other professionals who work with your child (such as from childcare centres, preschools and schools) may also be asked to respond to questionnaires. Having information from you and others who work with your child can provide the specialists with a more complete picture of your child's development.
The specialist may meet with you immediately after the appointment or schedule an appointment for a later date. At this time, you will have an opportunity to have the results explained and ask questions. The specialist may provide recommendations for:
It is sometimes difficult to receive all of the information at once and know what to ask. You may find it helpful to prepare a list of questions before the meeting and write down the specialist's answers during the meeting.
Possible things to ask about include:
You may receive a copy of the assessment or summary of the results. If you do not receive one, ask the doctor or professional who conducted the assessment for a copy of the report.
It is helpful to keep all assessment information and reports filed or in a binder. Agencies may require that you provide this information before services for your child can begin.
To learn more about access to your health information, visit the following website on access to information in Manitoba:
Your child's records will be reviewed to see if further assessments are needed. When reviewing assessments from other provinces or countries, the specialists will consider several factors, such as how long ago the assessment was completed, whether the assessment tools are the same and whether it answers all of the questions they have about your child's development. All of the factors will be considered when deciding if a reassessment is necessary.
If the assessment has shown that your child could benefit from services, the doctor or specialist will make recommendations and referrals with your written consent. The specialist can connect you with resources and services that will help your child.
There may be a waiting time to receive some services. Where you live may limit the services that are available. Some specialized services may not be available in all regions of the province and you may need to travel to access some services.
The doctor will not share any information unless you give your written consent. However, there are some exceptions. For example, a specialist may forward information gathered from an assessment to a professional who is already providing health care to your child, such as your family doctor. If you ask the specialist not to disclose any of your child's information to another professional, and the specialist is certain that your child's health will not be affected, the specialist must not disclose the information.
For more information on The Manitoba's Personal Health Information Act, please visit the following website: http://www.gov.mb.ca/health/phia/
Each child's development is unique and there are many factors that contribute to how and when development happens. Early intervention can sometimes help your child meet or come close to the developmental milestones for his or her age group. It may also identify key areas for his or her team to concentrate on present and future programming.
The Family Doctor Connection line through Manitoba Health provides a listing of doctors in their community who are accepting new patients.
To find a doctor in your area, call:
Toll free: 1-866-690-8260
Manitoba Relay Service 1-800-855-0511
For more information on health services in Manitoba and how to access these services, visit Manitoba Health's InfoHealth Guide online: http://ww.gov.mb.ca/health/guide/4.html