A DEVELOPMENTAL ASSESSMENT is designed to determine a child or a dependent adult’s level of intellectual (intelligence) and adaptive (ability to perform daily self-care activities typical for the age group) functioning.
This evaluation often involves individuals who present with notable developmental delays and suspicion of mental retardation or limited intellectual potential. Therefore, the assessment is often conducted to determine eligibility for benefits and services through the Regional Center or other publically funded agencies. Children who have suffered significant birth trauma, hypoxia, or are believed to be in the autistic spectrum may be evaluated under this classification.
When rather than determining a diagnostic category (i.e. Intellectual Disability or Pervasive Developmental Disorder), the evaluation is intended to identify the specific underlying cognitive processes that are contributing to the delayed functioning and/or problematic behavior presentation, a Neuropsychological Assessment would be a more appropriate alternative.
Similarly, a more comprehensive assessment should be pursued when parents or guardians are interested in determining whether neurocognitive retraining could bring positive changes in their children’s cognitive functioning. A developmental neuropsychological perspective provides information that adds to the understanding of the child even when limited intellectual capacity has been previously identified, that can lead to important intervention strategies that can bring gains in adaptive functioning and improve the child and/or family’s quality of life.