Child Find and Assessment

Nezzy fingerpaintingThe IDEA requires all states to have a “comprehensive Child Find system.” Each statewide system should include procedures for:

  • screening of child health and development,
  • public awareness around who to contact when a child is suspected of having a delay or disability,
  • practices around interagency coordination of Child Find efforts,
  • methods for processing referrals,
  • policies for determining eligibility for services, and
  • methods of tracking which children need follow-up once referred and later when they are receiving services.

Child Find, the continuous process of public awareness, screening, and assessment designed to locate, identify, and refer as early as possible all young children with disabilities who are in need of preschool special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, should be coordinated across state and local agencies to ensure efficient use of resources. Public awareness information about Child Find procedures in each community must be made available to all programs serving infants and preschool aged children.

The Infant-Toddler and Preschool Exceptional Children Programs collaborate on Child Find procedures through the North Carolina Interagency Coordinating Council. Local Coordinating Councils (LICC) provide Child Find community activities to ensure families, preschool programs, physicians, hospitals and health departments are aware of referral, assessment and eligibility procedures. For more information visit Child Find Resources.


Preschool Assessment Teams conduct developmental screenings and assessments on young children to assist in determining eligibility for special education services.  To aid teams in conducting evaluations that are developmentally appropriate and timely, the Network supports the Transdisciplinary Play Based Assessment, Second Edition (TPBA-2) and the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition (ADOS-2).  TPBA-2 is an authentic and developmentally appropriate method for a team of professionals and family members to evaluate children ages birth to six, in the domains of cognitive, communication, sensorimotor, social-emotional and conceptual development. This evaluation approach, guided by the child's interest, is based on observation and the use of developmental toys and materials in a play setting. TPBA teams use developmental guidelines and age referencing to interpret observations and determine age levels which show the child’s strengths, emerging skills and any developmental concerns. In addition to parents, the team may include a school psychologist, educational diagnostician, speech-language pathologist, occupational or physical therapist and others as appropriate.  ADOS-2 is a semi-structured, standardized assessment of communication, social interaction, play, and restricted and repetitive behaviors. It presents various activities that elicit behaviors directly related to a diagnosis of ASD.  Observing and coding these behaviors, provides information that informs diagnosis, treatment planning, and educational placement.    For more information visit Assessment Resources.   


Transition, the change from one place, stage, or relationship to another, can be a time of uncertainty. Parents and professionals can ensure smooth transitions by working together through careful planning and preparation of activities, timelines, and recommended practices to facilitate a child’s transition from the Infant-Toddler program to preschool services, for children who are eligible. For more information visit Transition Resources.