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Children's Medical Services - Special services for children with special needs
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Infant Toddler Development Training
Module 6, Lesson 4

Evaluation and Assessment Considerations for Children with Neurological and/or Orthopedic Conditions

When planning the evaluation and assessment, the team must consider the stamina of the infant or toddler. Information should be provided to the family by the service coordinator on how long the child can interact before becoming fatigued. Cardiac and respiratory endurance needs to be considered. The team must plan for postural supports such as those that can be provided by a caregiver's own body or when necessary, adaptive equipment such as an adaptive stroller, wheelchair or other seating device or stander. The infant or toddler must be in the best position to interact with the toys or test materials.

Technological Supports

Toddler smilingInfants and toddlers who have neurological and/or orthopedic conditions often require assistive technology support. These may be needed during the developmental assessment or may be recommended as a result of the assessment. Many communities have equipment lending libraries where families may see various equipment and supports and try them on a loan basis.

Division for Early Childhood (DEC) Technology Recommendations

In the DEC Recommended Practices in Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education text, Kathleen Stremel (2000) outlines four technological applications for the team to consider when working with young children.

  • Professionals utilize assistive technology in intervention programs for children.
  • Families and professionals collaborate in planning and implementing the use of assistive technology.
  • Families and professionals use technology to access information and support.
  • Training and technical support programs are available to support technology applications (Stremel in Sandall et al., p. 56).

Recommended technology applications are outlined on pages 59 – 61 of the text. The ITDS should use these applications when making recommendations regarding equipment or assistive devices. It should be noted that teams need to consider low-tech options as well as high tech options.

Community Support for Technology Services

Families and professionals who work with infants and toddlers with neurological and orthopedic conditions can find information about technology by accessing the following websites.

  • Assistive Technology
  • Florida Learning and Diagnostic Resources System
  • Toddler in playhouseAT Links. This website provides links to the Florida Diagnostic Learning Resources Services, Assistive Technology Network. You will find curriculum ideas for all ages, a how-to sheet for making switches for toys, product lines, and multiple web links. The ideas cross all ages, therefore the ITDS will need to browse to find those most suitable for infants and toddlers. Please be patient as some of the links take a while to load. It should be noted that various levels of support are available in each local region for the team to utilize when planning appropriate technology supports for the child and family.

Another resource for children with special needs is Shriners Hospitals for Children. This is a network of 22 hospitals across North America. Since 1922, Shriners has provided no-cost medical care to children with orthopedic problems and burn injuries. The Shriners Hospital in Tampa has treated more than 30,000 patients since opening in 1985.


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