What to Do While Waiting to be Seen by a Developmental Provider

There may be a significant waiting period before your visit with a developmental provider, but it is important to know that your child may be eligible for help now, even before an evaluation or getting a medical diagnosis. 

Here are some important things to do while waiting for your child’s developmental evaluation:   

  1. Talk with your pediatrician about the following: 
    • Hearing test – within the past year if concerns for speech delay.  
    • Vision screen 
    • Lead level check  
  2. Ask your pediatrician for a referral for speech, occupational, or physical therapy that is billed through your insurance. You can then call your health insurance plan to find therapy providers that are in-network.   
  3. Enroll your child in Early Intervention (33 months or younger) OR in a school district preschool program (34 months or older) that provides services for your child’s needs. 

Please see below for local services and assistance offered, based on your child’s age.

Resources by Age

Contact your local Early Intervention office. Early Intervention is a statewide program that offers a free developmental evaluation for children under the age of 33 months. This evaluation is done by a team of therapists who will determine if your child is eligible for services, such as speech, occupational, and physical therapy.    

To find your local office, call 800.323.4769 or visit the state’s website at eiclearinghouse.org/getstarted.  

Having trouble accessing Early Intervention for your child? Contact the LEAP Program for further help. 

If you are concerned that your child is not developing like their peers, we would recommend that you contact your local school district and request a case study evaluation. This is the first step to creating an Individual Education Plan (IEP) and getting your child placed in a preschool, with support services such as speech or occupational therapy. We encourage you not to delay initiating the case study evaluation, as the services and therapies offered in school will help your child’s development.  

Follow the specific instructions below based on your home address. 

Chicago Residents

  1. Contact the Child Find Screening Program coordinator, Davette Clark-Johnson, to request a free developmental screening. 
  2. The results of the developmental screening will determine if your child would benefit from a more in-depth evaluation by the CPS Citywide Assessment Team. 
  3. Having trouble? Need further assistance with getting your child the right special education preschool program (in Illinois)?  Contact the LEAP Program for further help. 

Suburban Residents

  1. Locate your local school district.
  2. Send an email or letter to your local school district requesting a case study evaluation for your child (see #5 below).
  3. Within 14 school days after receiving the written request, the district will decide whether to evaluate your child or not. If the district determines that the evaluation is not necessary, it must notify the parent in writing of the decision not to evaluate and the reasons for the decision. 
  4. The school district must advise the parents of their right to request a due process hearing to challenge its decision. 
  5. Click here to get more information on the process of requesting a free school evaluation. The letter provided on this website is written for a child who is already enrolled in school. Please feel free to edit the letter to reflect a child who has not yet started school. 
  6. Having trouble? Need further assistance with getting your child the right special education preschool program (in Illinois)?  Contact the LEAP Program for further help.  

Please note: 

  • Your child does not need to be potty trained to attend preschool or school. 
  • Your child can be evaluated for an IEP at any point throughout the year, you do not need to wait for a new school year to initiate an evaluation.   

Having Trouble getting your child into the right school program for their needs? Contact the LEAP Program for further help.