• Where does individuality end and true delay begin?

    Photo of Teacher with Students

    Human beings are inherently unique. From eye, skin, and hair color to height, weight, and overall build, no two people are exactly alike. Even identical twins have at least one physical trait that differentiates one from the other.

    Just as each person is unique physically, so, too are they in their developmental abilities. Where one infant may smile and begin communicating nonverbally at 6 weeks of age, another might roll over at 10 weeks, then smile for the first time. One baby might not ever crawl, but completely stun their parents by pulling themselves up on a chair leg at 10 months and toddling across the kitchen. One baby might sing themselves the “Happy Birthday song” on their first birthday while another doesn’t start communicating verbally until after their second.

    Although early childhood experts have general guidelines for milestones, each child is unique in their own development. That being said, knowing when a baby or young child is truly delayed is often critical to making sure they receive the interventions necessary to get them — and keep them — on track.

    Areas of development to screen for:

    • Physical development
      • sensory abilities: acuity, discrimination, perception
      • fine motor skills, gross motor skills
    • Cognitive development (intellectual abilities)
    • Communication development (speech and language)
    • Social or emotional development (social skills, emotional control)
    • Adaptive development (self-care skills)

    Screening for developmental delays gives you a closer look at their overall abilities to determine where additional support may be necessary. The Early Screening Inventory, Third Edition gives you the tools needed to individually screen kids ages 3:0–5:11 in several areas of development. In short, ESI™-3 makes finding the kids that need extra support... easier.

    Read the previous articles in this series.

    For more information on developmental screening with the ESI-3, visit  


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  • Are you prepared to serve the growing population of ELLs?

    Five children

    According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the number of English Language Learner (ELL) students in the US rose from 3.8 million (8.1%) in 2000 to 4.8 million (9.5%) in the fall of 2015. This 20% growth in the number of ELL students prompts several important questions, two of which are, “How can we help this growing population succeed in school and beyond?” and “What tools do we need to do so?”

    Language is the basis for all learning, which poses a problem when a student isn’t fluent in the language spoken in their school. Despite this challenge, ELLs are expected to meet the same standards of their English-speaking classmates, and as a result, are falling drastically behind. According to a recent study, only 63% of ELLs graduate from high school, compared to 82% of non-ELLs — and of those who graduate, only 1.4% go on to take college entrance exams.

    Academics isn’t the only area where these students are running into trouble. While 1 in 10 US students are ELLs, only 7% of school psychologists surveyed are proficient (not fluent) in Spanish, 1.3% are proficient in Sign Language, and 5.3% are proficient in 27 other languages. This discrepancy is alarming as it clearly indicates an immense gap in a typical school’s ability to address these students’ diverse needs.

    What are practical guidelines for serving the ELL population?

    Get the practical guidelines for working with English Language Learners.

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  • It’s time for parent-teacher conferences!

    Laptop displaying DRA3 Online report for Oral Reading Summary

    Streamline your preparations with DRA3’s online reports.

    For some students, nothing conjures up greater anxiety than these three words: parent-teacher conferences. What will my teacher(s) have to say? Have I done everything I can to get a good report? Am I doing well?? Concurrently, parents have similar concerns. What will their teacher(s) have to say? Have I done everything I can to help my child succeed in school? Are they doing well? Taking time out to make sure that you have all of the information related to each student’s progress can be an overwhelming task at a time of year when their attention span is already waning with the upcoming holidays. Math grades, outcome tests, science grades, reading skills progress, social studies… the list of reports and papers is seemingly endless.

    DRA3 can take care of one big item on that list — reading skills progress. Our powerful online platform gives you unlimited access to:

    • Class Roster Report
    • Student Action Plan
    • Student Assessment History
    • Assessment Instance Results
    • Parent Report
    • Student Performance Over Time
    • Class Skills Summary
    • School/District Benchmark Scoring Report
    • School/District Data Across Seasons (and Across Years)

    What’s on the calendar for November?

    One of the most important tasks in any school year is discovering each student’s literacy strengths and weaknesses. Identifying where they might need a little help, and how you can utilize their strengths to augment that support will help them make the most of their educational time. We have put together a reading assessment calendar to help you stay on track throughout the year, and to provide you with helpful tools to enhance your reading curriculum. October’s activities are crucial to your students’ reading success, and will set you on the path to discovering — and fostering — the lifelong reader in each of them!

    Download the calendar  

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  • Are your students in need of extra support?

    Teacher with young students

    The connections for learning, behavior, and health in a child’s brain are the most flexible when they are young, and over time, these connections become harder to change. As with any other skill, the sooner a child receives intervention for developmental delays, the better their outcomes typically are. Developmental screening is the most effective way to identify children who need further evaluation in order to get them the support they need sooner rather than later.

    Developmental screening should be used to:

    1. Identify children who may be in need of further evaluation
    2. Assist teachers in getting to know their students’:
      • Cognition
      • Adaptive skills
      • Language skills
      • Fine and gross motor skills
    3. Help prevent severe delays from going unrecognized

    Developmental screening should not be used as:

    • A means to make a diagnostic decision
    • A school entry or readiness test
    • An achievement test

    A typical developmental screening tool will contain items such as name, color recognition, printing letters, picture recognition, rote counting, and identifying body parts. The Early Screening Inventory, Third Edition (ESI-3) goes beyond these “typical” categories to help attain a deeper understanding of a child’s abilities.


    • Measures visual motor-adaptive skills through block building, copy forms, and visual-sequential memory to help understand how a child can coordinate their visual capacities with their fine motor abilities.
    • Connects language and cognition with number concepts rather than just rote counting, and verbal expression rather than just identifying objects.
    • Measures verbal reasoning which enables them complete analogies, and auditory-sequential memory which enables them to recall items in a particular sequence.
    • Measures gross motor skills through balancing, hopping, and skipping.

    Hear about the importance of developmental screening, and the power of the ESI-3 from its author, Dr. Miesels!

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