Evaluation and assessment are very similar. Often the terms are used to convey the same messages. But here are the ways that they are used in the Arizona Early Intervention Program (AzEIP).
Evaluation means those procedures used by qualified people to decide your child's eligibility for AzEIP. The AzEIP eligibility decision is based on informed clinical opinion that includes:
- administering an evaluation instrument;
- taking the child’s history (including interviewing the parent);
- Identifying the child’s level of functioning in each of the developmental areas (cognitive development, physical development, including vision and hearing), communication development, social or emotional development, and adaptive development);
- gathering information from other sources such as family members, other care-givers, medical providers, social workers and educators, if necessary, to understand the full scope of the child’s unique strengths and needs; and
- reviewing medical, educational, or other records.
An evaluation must be conducted by qualified personnel to determine a child’s initial and continuing eligibility for AzEIP. In conducting an evaluation, no single procedure may be used as the sole criterion for determining a child’s eligibility for AzEIP. Procedures include:
Evaluation tools used must be interpreted as designed. Generally, two standard deviations below the mean or an age equivalent indicating 50 percent delay meets AzEIP eligibility criteria. Informed clinical opinion must also be utilized in every eligibility determination. Evaluations are conducted (and billed) for two purposes only 1) to determine a child’s initial eligibility for AzEIP, and 2) to re-determine a child’s continuing eligibility for the program.
AzEIP is not responsible for the costs if you decide to seek a second opinion on the findings from an evaluation.
- the ongoing procedures used by qualified personnel to identify the child's unique strengths and needs and the early intervention services appropriate to meet those needs throughout the period of the child’s eligibility and includes the assessment of the child and the assessment of the child’s family.
The assessment of the child must include:
- A review of the results of the evaluation, if conducted;
- Personal observations of the child; and
- The identification of the child’s needs in each of the developmental areas.
The family-directed assessment is conducted to identify the family’s resources, priorities, and concerns and the supports and services necessary to enhance the family’s capacity to meet the developmental needs of the family’s child in early intervention. The family-directed assessment is:
- voluntary on the part of each family member participating in the assessment;
- be based on the information obtained through the assessment tool and also through an interview with those family members who elect to participate in the assessment; and
- include the family’s description of its resources, priorities, and concerns related to enhancing the child’s development.
Family Resources, Priorities and Concerns
You will be asked to share information about your family’s resources, priorities, and concerns regarding your child’s development. You may also want to share your ideas about what supports and services you think will help your family meet the developmental needs of your child. Sharing this or any other family information is voluntary. The information that you chose to share through personal interviews, survey or your conversations is confidential.