What information is already available?

The second step is finding out what information is already available about the question being asked.

An interview with the parents or teacher is often very valuable. Video clips (e.g. recordings of self help skills) or a description of the child’s educational materials (e.g. preferred toy[s], communication board, object cues) sometimes shed light on his/her level of functioning.

If the child has physical problems, medical information is extremely valuable (e.g. the child takes medication for epilepsy or for Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder [ADHD], psychotropic drugs to control behaviour, or wears arm splints to prevent self-abuse).

Sometimes, the child’s etiology (the cause of the dual sensory impairment) indicates the assessment’s direction. For example, if the child has CHARGE Syndrome, the issue of Autism Spectrum Disorders should be pursued. In a case of prematurity, ADHD is possible.

The child’s vision and hearing have probably been assessed. It should be noted, however, that test results do not always correspond with the way a child behaves in daily life. A child diagnosed as profoundly deaf may respond to the voice of his/her mother. This is also true about vision. A child may be diagnosed as totally blind, but be able to distinguish between the faces of his mother and father.

It’s important to review all of this information before the assessment.

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