Eligibility & Screening Process for Preschoolers

Any parent or guardian who has a concern about a preschool child's speech and language development or other developmental concern may request a screening by calling the PEEP office at (757)591-4963.

A developmental delay means a disability affecting a child ages two through eight:

  1. Who is experiencing developmental delays, as measured by appropriate diagnostic instruments and procedures, in one or more of the following areas; physical development, cognitive development, communication development, social or emotional development, or adaptive development; and

  2. Who, by reason thereof, needs special education and related services.


Children enrolled in early intervention programs or whose doctor or clinic has referred them are screened (this process is about 45 min. - 1 hr). If the child's family has concerns about speech or language development or if there are concerns about the child being high risk they may be screened. During screening your child will be seen by a nurse, an early childhood educator, and a speech/language pathologist. The outcomes of the screening may be:

  1. The child is referred for a comprehensive evaluation (1-1.5 hr.) where they are seen by a psychologist, school social worker, nurse, speech/language pathologist and others as necessary for more complete testing.

  2. The child may be referred for speech/language evaluation (45 min. - 1 hr.) only and is seen by just a speech/language pathologist.

  3. The child may need to be re-checked in a few months.

  4. The child's skills are age appropriate and no further screening is necessary. If you have questions about whether your child possibly has special needs, call the PEEP office at (757) 599-4963 to schedule an appointment for a screening.

Comprehensive Evaluation Process

Physical Evaluation: Three health related items will be completed during the evaluation process (1-1.5 hr.). They are :

  1. Vision evaluation
  2. Hearing evaluation
  3. A current physical evaluation

The school nurse can perform the vision and hearing evaluations or outside reports will be accepted. The school nurse will refer for an audiological evaluation, if necessary. The physical examination can be provided by your private doctor or by a physician contracted by the Newport News Public Schools.

The Speech/Language Evaluation: PEEP's speech language pathologists will be responsible, in most cases, for completing a speech/language assessment that can include a measure of your child's understanding and use of words, and his or her correct use of language for different purposes. Your child's pronunciation of speech sounds, physical ability to produce speech, voice quality, and fluency (fast vs. slow rate of speech) will also be assessed. A complete speech/language evaluation from an outside source can be accepted.

The Sociocultural Assessment: This includes a study of the child within the family setting, as well as extended family and community factors which may impact on the child's development. A school social worker interviews the parents to collect information regarding the child's birth, developmental and medical histories, a chronological account of preschool or daycare experience or participation in an infant development program, behaviour within the home, self-help skills, social skills, and relevant family strengths and weaknesses. This information provides a view of the parents' perception of their child's developmental needs and behaviours.

The Psychological Evaluation: The PEEP school psychologists will conduct ability level testing which may include an individual intellectual measure which taps a child's problem solving ability, his or her memory skills, his or her understanding and use of language, and the child's readiness skills for school-like tasks.

The Developmental Evaluation: A PEEP early childhood special educator will conduct testing that examines skills your child can perform as they relate to large muscle movements, eye-hand coordination, pre-writing activities, speech and language, self-help, and interaction with others.

The Eligibility Process

After all of the evaluation components are completed and the reports are on file at PEEP, the administrator of PEEP will arrange a meeting of the PEEP Eligibility Committee. At this meeting, the results of the evaluation will be presented, and a recommendation will be made. The voting members of the Eligibility Committee will make a decision regarding your child's eligibility for preschool special education services based on whether or not your child has significant developmental delays or has a diagnosed disability.


If your child is declared eligible for preschool special education services, you will be asked to participate in developing an Individualized Education Plan for your child. You and the members of the IEP committee will develop goals in the areas of fine motor, gross motor, speech/language, cognitive, and social/emotional skills. Under each goal, you will plan the small steps (objectives) to help your child to meet these goals. At this meeting, you and the committee will also make plans for related services, such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech/language therapy, or hearing impaired services. After the IEP is developed, you will be asked to give written permission for the school system to serve your child.

Please see Health Requirements for School Entry.