IHBAB – Developmental Delay

The Developmental Delay disability category has enhanced the identification process for children in early childhood age range by more accurately assessing specific areas of delay, creating a shift from less descriptive disability categories.

New Hampshire Department of Education RSA 186 C:2, I-a defines “Developmentally Delayed Child” as follows: a child at least three years of age or older but less than ten years of age, who, because of impairments in development, needs special education or special education and related services, and may be identified as being developmentally delayed provided that such a child meets the criteria established by the State Board of Education. The child must be experiencing developmental delays in one or more of the following areas: physical development; cognitive development; communication development; social or emotional development; or adaptive development. Ed 1102.01(s)(1).

The following principles shall apply to the identification of a child who may be experiencing a developmental delay:

  • The developmental delay identification shall generally be used for students age three to seven years as a diagnostic tool when a student is suspected as having a more specific qualifying disability, but the Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team is not yet able to identify a more specific educational disability.
  • When, and if the IEP Team determines that it has sufficient information that a child has a more specific educational disability, that designation should be used if it is more descriptive of a young child’s strengths and needs. The designation of developmental delay, as opposed to the designation of a more specific educational disability shall only be used past age seven when the IEP Team has determined that it still lacks sufficient information to determine whether a child has a more specific educational disability.
  • The assessment process for Developmental Delay shall view the whole child within the context of the family and community, and with reference to typical developmental perspectives.
  • Developmental Delay should not be used as a secondary identification.
  • The five developmental domains to be assessed shall include: Physical, Cognitive, Communication, Social/Emotional, and Adaptive.
  • The relevant assessments are listed in the Developmental Delay Assessment Resource Packet. These assessments may vary depending upon the nature of the determination by the IEP Team that the child may have one of the other educationally disabling conditions.

The evaluation of a child who is suspected of having a developmental delay shall include some or all of the following components: (ages three through six until seventh birthday)

  1. A history of the child’s developmental, social, and medical history
  2. A vision and hearing screening
  3. Observations in an environment natural to the child, which is completed by appropriately trained specialists familiar with Child Development
  4. Physical development assessment using standardized (norm-referenced or age referenced), diagnostic instruments and procedures individually administered by appropriate specialists. Assessment of Cognitive/Intellectual Functioning individually administered by appropriate specialists using appropriate diagnostic instruments and procedures
  5. Communication/language skills assessment of receptive and expressive skills combined, using appropriate norm-referenced or age-referenced instruments individually administered by a Speech and Language Pathologist/Specialist
  6. Social/emotional development assessment using direct and indirect observation data compiled by an appropriate specialist
  7. Adaptive behavior skills assessment by an appropriately trained specialist through an appropriate standardized diagnostic instrument using the child’s primary caretaker and/or other familiar person (with parental consent) as an informant

Category: O

1st Read: August 14, 2012
2nd Read: September 4, 2012
Adopted: September 4, 2012