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I Am Worried About My Preschool-Age Child


If you think that your child is not developing at the same rate or in the same way as most children his or her age, it is often a good idea to talk to your child’s pediatrician first. Explain your concerns. Tell the doctor what you have observed and have a few examples ready. At the same time, it is always a good idea to contact your community’s Early Intervention program or local school district and ask to have your child evaluated to see if he or she has a delay that can be addressed through special education services. This evaluation is free of charge.

Much of the evaluation is play-based, and many children find it fun. Members of the evaluation team will look at your child’s basic abilities, including social, behavioral, emotional, and pre-academic skills. Based on that evaluation, and the information you, the parent, provide to the team, the team will determine if your child is eligible for special education services. If your child is found eligible for these services a plan will be designed to address his or her special needs.

Your local school district is responsible for Preschool Special Education services. Some districts have assigned preschool evaluations and services to the local agency responsible for Early Intervention for children under age 3. (This is the case in Pennsylvania.) If you are unsure of who to call to initiate an evaluation for your preschool-age child, call your local school district.

For Families Living in Philadelphia: Call Elwyn at 215-222-8054.

For Families Living Elsewhere in Pennsylvania: Call the CONNECT Information and Referral number: 800-692-7288.

For Families Living in New Jersey: Contact your local school district.

For Families Living in Delaware: Contact your local school district.

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Additional Resources:

The Center for Autism Research and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia do not endorse or recommend any specific person or organization or form of treatment. The information included within the CAR Autism Roadmap™ and CAR Resource Directory™ should not be considered medical advice and should serve only as a guide to resources publicly and privately available. Choosing a treatment, course of action, and/or a resource is a personal decision, which should take into account each individual's and family's particular circumstances.