Battelle Developmental Inventory Assessment for Young Children

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Learning whether a child has developmental delays as early as possible is important in preventing further delays and helping your child learn. How is the Battelle Developmental Inventory used to assess children aged close to eight years and under for developmental delays?

Many people are familiar with standardized testing and developmental tests for school-aged children and older, but we have learned that detecting, and addressing developmental delays is important as soon as they are suspected —when a child is still an infant, toddler, or young child. Thankfully, there is specialized testing for this age group, called the Battelle Developmental Inventory.

Battelle Developmental Inventory

The Battelle Developmental Inventory is an assessment for infants and children through age seven years and eleven months. It is an adjustable yet organized assessment that uses a mix of sources such as:

  • Observation of the child
  • Interviews with parents and caregivers
  • A thorough developmental history (review of milestones reached each age and more)
  • Social history
  • Interaction with the child using game-like materials, toys, questionnaires, and tasks

Tests for Developmental Delays

The Battelle Developmental Inventory is one type of assessment commonly used to determine if infants and children are meeting developmental milestones. The milestones assessed include things such as when a baby first smiled, laughed, and learned how to sit alone. Developmental milestones are broken down into four general categories:

  • Physical milestones such as sitting up, crawling, and walking
  • Cognitive milestones such as facial expressions and learning the alphabet
  • Social and emotional milestones such as recognizing their own emotions and the emotions of others through play
  • Communication milestones such as when the first words were spoken and learning grammar with age

A review of these milestones will help determine if a child is showing early signs of learning disabilities or has any significant developmental delay.

It's important to understand the difference between developmental delays and learning disabilities as developmental delays do not necessarily predict a child will have learning disabilities in the future. Many children "outgrow" these delays, but they can be very helpful in directing you to look for learning disabilities before they have a greater effect on your child.

Infant Testing

The Battelle can be used to assess infant development by observing the interaction between an examiner and a child or a parent and a child. Examiners observe the child's responses and score them based on standardized criteria.

Parent and caregiver input is an important part of the learning disability assessment process in gathering information on the child's history and interactions and development taking place beyond the testing session.

Toddler and Preschooler Testing

When the Battelle is used to assess toddler through preschool development, most assessment tasks involve the examiner interacting with the child using toys, games, and tasks.

Examiners observe the child's ability to follow instructions, interact with others, and perform tasks. Parent information is also used to assess areas that cannot be observed during a testing session. As children perform tasks and respond to the examiner's prompts, their performance is scored based on standardized criteria.

Infant and Toddler Development

The Battelle assesses five domains of early childhood development. These include:

  • Adaptive behavior: Adaptive behaviors are those that, as an adult, are necessary to function independently in society. Certainly, infants and younger children do not need to be able to balance a checking account, but adaptive skills appropriate for age are carefully assessed. These may include skills such as getting dressed, the ability to make friends, and following basic rules to avoid dangers (such as holding an adult's hand while crossing a busy street.)
  • Personal and social skills: Social skills, best known for their role in autism spectrum disorders, are different than the communication skills of expressive and receptive language listed below.
  • Motor skills: Motor development assessment includes evaluation of both gross motor skills and fine motor skills.
  • Communication skills: The evaluation of communication includes evaluation of expressive language (primarily spoken language in this age group) and receptive language (understanding spoken language.)
  • Cognitive skills: Cognitive skills are essentially the ability of a person to gain meaning and knowledge from experience and information.

The assessment results can be used to determine if there are delays , and how significant these delays are when compared to others in the child's age group. Learn more about the learning disability assessment process.

9 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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Additional Reading

By Ann Logsdon
Ann Logsdon is a school psychologist specializing in helping parents and teachers support students with a range of educational and developmental disabilities.