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Ir Med J. 2001 May;94(5):148-50.

A study looking at the effectiveness of developmental screening in identifying learning disabilities in early childhood.

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Brothers of Charity Early Intervention Services, Lower Newcastle, Galway.

Erratum in

  • Ir Med J 2001 Jul-Aug;94(7):222.


This is a retrospective study of children under six years of age referred to the Brothers of Charity Early Intervention Services in County Galway, a service that caters for children under 6 years with learning disabilities. The aim in doing this study was to assess the value of routine developmental screening in identifying children with learning difficulties. This study also investigates the patterns and sources of referral to the remedial services provided by the Brothers of Charity and highlights possible avoidable delays in referral. The results showed that many children were referred for remedial services late. The reasons for late referral included late identification of some children with problems, insufficient co-ordination of community-based services and a lack of awareness of the importance of early intervention in some cases. As some communication disorders such as autism, autistic spectrum disorders and specific language delay may not express themselves until the later part of the second year of life, the 18-24 month developmental assessment is of vital importance. However identification of these disorders can present difficulties and may call for additional training for professionals involved in the developmental screening of children in that age group. The interval between initial identification and referral for remedial care in many cases was more than twelve months. We propose that, in order to minimize this time, children requiring a more in-depth assessment should be assessed by a community-based multidisciplinary team, enabling integrated assessment by the different disciplines and thus speedier referral to remedial services.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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