Understanding the difference between a developmental pediatrician’s evaluation, a psychological and an occupational therapy evaluation.

Taken from:http://pediatrician1.com/developmental-pediatrician/ Taken from:


Original Source:

Children’s Special Services, LLC

Developmental Pediatrician

…a developmental pediatrician plays a crucial role in the treatment of children with developmental and behavioral conditions.

The following is a short list of some common conditions which a developmental pediatrician may diagnose and treat.

▪    Learning Disorders – A wide range of conditions fall into this section of developmental conditions. Children who find writing, public speaking or math unusually difficult may benefit from a developmental pediatrician, as do children with dyslexia. In these cases, thedevelopmental pediatrician will diagnose the childand then provide further treatment, which often includes a referral to a specialist in a particular condition or an academic center which specializes in learning disorders.

▪    Developmental Delays – If a child has fallen behind his peers in basis skills, such as mobility, cognition, language or speech, a developmental pediatrician can be extremely helpful. They are trained to recognize these delays earlier than an MD with no specialized training, and therefore help children sooner. The earlier a child receives help with a developmental delay, the better the chances that he will quickly catch up to his peers. As with learning disorders, a developmental pediatrician has the option to treat the condition herself or to refer the child to another doctor or therapist who specializes in one particular delay, such as a speech therapist.

▪    Habit Disorders – Encompassing Tourette’s Syndrome as well as a variety of tic behaviors, habit disorders can be very disruptive. Not only are they confusing and frustrating for the child, but for the child’s family as well. When treated early in life, tic disorders can often be eliminated or minimized quite well.

▪    Regulatory Disorders – Feeding issues, disciplinary problems, bed-wetting and sleep disorders fall into this area of research. A developmental pediatrician is trained to spot the signs of these disorders as well as to treat them, although, as with many issues, a referral to a specialist may be the best solution. These issues are often only symptoms of underlying psychological conditions, such as excessive stress, and so a child psychologist may be recommended. In many instances, however, a developmental pediatrician has the skills to deliver effective therapy, especially in mild to moderate cases.

Psychological assessment is a process of testing that uses a combination of techniques to help arrive at some hypotheses about a person and their behavior, personality and capabilities. Psychological assessment is also referred to as psychological testing, or performing a psychological battery on a person.

4 Components of Psychological Assessment

Norm-Referenced Tests

A standardized psychologicaltest is a task or set of tasks given under standard, set conditions. It is designed to assess some aspect of a person’s knowledge, skill or personality. A psychological test provides a scale of measurement for consistent individual differences regarding some psychological concept and serves to line up people according to that concept.


A formal clinical interview is often conducted with the individual before the start of any psychological assessment or testing. This interview can last anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes, and includes questions about the individual’s personal and childhood history, recent life experiences, work and school history, and family background.


Observations of the person being referred in their natural setting — especially if it’s a child — can provide additional valuable assessment information. In the case of a child, how do they behave in school settings, at home, and in the neighborhood? Does the teacher treat them differently than other children? How do their friends react to them?

Informal Assessment

“..a supplement to standardized norm-referenced tests… informal assessment procedures, as such as projective tests or even career-testing or teacher-made tests…. language samples from the child, test the child’s ability to profit from systematic cues, and evaluate the child’s reading skills under various conditions.

Definition of occupational therapy:

Occupational Therapy is the use of everyday tasks to assess the needs of the child inclusive but not limited to their physical, neurological/ (sensory), emotional, and developmental skills.

The occupational therapist uses both norn-referred standardized tests and informal clinical observations to ascertain the levels of both actual and potential functional capacities.

Testing components:

Standardized Tests:

 Visual Perceptual Skills-Testing:  Assesses the seven realms of perception with the motor component removed to look specifically and visual processing.*

This can include preliminary screening for Dyslexia and related visual issues.

Visual Motor Testing:

Evaluates the visual processing with the motor component to assess how what the child sees is translated into a specific motor response.**

This can include the testing for Dysgraphia and Dyscalculia as well as motor co-ordination.

Fine motor: in hand manipulative tests and dominance testing.

Sensory Assessments:

(gross motor abilities included)

Evaluates behavior inclusive of frustration and coping skills, Visual and auditory reactions and actions; Functional response patterns inclusive of tracking reaching, grasp and release motor patterns, diadokokinesia, range of motional strength, flexion and extension patterns, balance, muscle tone, equilibrium, stability and weight shift, reflex reactions, functional movement patterns inclusive of but limited to walking/running/etc., body image, activities of daily living/self cares, tactile processing, proprioception, stereonosis with vision occluded, position sense, and handwriting.

Evidence based practice:

Utilizing the results of the testing and current research the occupational therapist then designs a treatment plan specific to that child’s individual needs.