Center for Children with Special Needs

Learn About Our Services

When your child is referred to the Center for Children with Special Needs (CCSN) in downtown Boston for evaluation, you will be partnering with a respected and caring team of child development experts with a shared mission: to make sense of a child’s developmental challenges, link the child and family to appropriate community resources, help parents and children to understand their difficulties and support them to become confident advocates in their school and community settings. 

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Providing Evaluations Suitable for Your Child

There are different types of evaluations that you or your child’s primary care physician can request, and it is not always easy to know which type of evaluation your child needs the most. That is where the Center for Children with Special Needs at Floating Hospital for Children in Boston comes in. By completing the general intake packet, including the parent questionnaire for children younger than five years old or the parent questionnaire for children five years old and above, we can help you to make this determination. We will always choose only those evaluations that we think are best for your child.

What is a Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician?

Developmental-Behavioral Pediatricians complete a three-year fellowship to receive specialty training in developmental and behavioral disorders of childhood.

How will the Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician help my child?

Developmental-Behavioral Pediatricians take a very broad view of your child. Their role is to help develop a comprehensive treatment plan for your child that will address your child’s medical, developmental and behavioral needs.

What is a Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Evaluation?

The Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Evaluation includes most or all of the following components:

  • A review of all documentation that you provide: intake materials that you complete prior to the visit; testing done by other health care providers; testing done by Early Intervention or your child’s school team; your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) from school; etc.
  • An interview with you to learn about your child’s developmental skills and needs
  • A physical and neurological examination
  • A developmental assessment 
  • A follow-up meeting with you to describe the results of the assessment and discuss treatment recommendations
  • A written report, provided by the Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician, that outlines recommendations for your child: medical, developmental and behavioral needs. You can use the report to communicate with your child’s health care providers, your child’s school team, and with professionals working in other agencies.
  • A Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Evaluation usually lasts 2.5 to 3 hours and occurs over two or three visits

What type of follow-up care does the Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician provide?

  • Follow-up care to help assure that your child maintains access to quality services from other health care professionals, school professionals and professionals working in other agencies
  • Psychopharmacological services, if needed
  • General pediatrics or well-child visits are not offered

How do I pay for a Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Evaluation?

Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics services are considered to be medical services and are covered by almost all insurance plans.

What is an Educational Specialist?

An Educational Specialist has advanced training in the identification and treatment of children with learning disorders/learning disabilities.

How will the Educational Specialist help my child?

The Educational Specialist will describe your child’s reading, writing and math abilities. At times, the Educational Specialist can also complete testing to describe your child’s overall cognitive abilities.

What is an Educational Evaluation?

An Educational Evaluation consists of some or all of the following components:

  • A review of past testing done by your child’s school team
  • A review of your child’s IEP
  • Testing/assessment of your child’s reading, writing and math skills. For young children, the evaluation emphasizes readiness skills in reading, writing and math. For older children, more complex reading, writing and math skills are assessed.
  • A classroom observation and school program evaluation (additional services)
  • A written report, provided by the Educational Specialist, that documents your child’s reading, writing and math skills. The report makes recommendations for your child’s school team to consider.
  • An Educational Evaluation takes approximately two hours of time and typically occurs over one visit

What follow-up care does the Educational Specialist provide?

The Educational Specialist does not provide follow-up care. Repeat testing can be useful to monitor progress, and should occur every one to three years.

How do I pay for an Educational Evaluation?

An Educational Evaluation is not covered by insurance plans because it is not considered a medical benefit. You can pay for an Educational Evaluation out-of-pocket, or you can ask your child’s school team to pay for part or all of the Educational Evaluation through the Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) process.

What is a Neuropsychologist?

A Neuropsychologist is a psychologist with advanced fellowship training in the evaluation of children with complex developmental profiles. A Neuropsychologist uses advanced testing instruments to evaluate higher brain functions not captured by standardized intelligence tests.

How will the Neuropsychologist help my child?

The Neuropsychologist can help provide an in-depth evaluation of all of your child’s developmental strengths, help understand your child's diagnosis or diagnoses and determine what types of health care and educational services your child may need. The Neuropsychologist can also help a physician determine medical causes that may require medical treatment.

What is a Neuropsychological Evaluation?

A Neuropsychological Evaluation is a comprehensive psychological assessment to obtain a complete portrait of the child’s developmental strengths and weaknesses. A Neuropsychological Evaluation consists of some or all of the following components:

  • A review of information that you provide about your child: intake materials; past testing performed by health care professionals; past testing performed by your child’s school team; your child’s IEP
  • A parent interview
  • A comprehensive assessment of your child, including some or all of the following components:
    • Intelligence / IQ test
    • Thinking / reasoning
    • Memory / learning
    • Information / processing style
    • Attention / concentration + executive functions
    • Social / emotional functioning
    • Adaptive / self-care / life skills
  • A Projective Evaluation, which observes the child’s personality and social/emotional and behavioral functioning in-depth. It is a separate evaluation.
  • A Psycho-social/Emotional/Family Assessment, which is an observation by a clinical social worker or psychologist that assesses the child’s emotional and social functioning, utilizing interviews of the child and parents/family. It is used to help diagnose mental health concerns and to formulate recommendations for the child to do his/her best emotionally and socially, at home and at school.
  • A written report that will provide you with a description of your child’s learning and performance needs, and recommendations for services other health care professionals and school professionals to consider. You can use the written report to communicate with other professionals about your child’s needs.
  • The Neuropsychological Evaluation takes approximately 6 hours to complete and occurs either during a single visit (you should plan to stay at the CCSN for a full day) or divided into two visits.

What follow-up care does the Neuropsychologist provide?

The Neuropsychologist does not provide follow-up care. Re-testing with the Neuropsychologist can be useful, to monitor progress and to update recommendations. Re-testing usually does not occur more often than every three years.

How do I pay for a Neuropsychological Evaluation?

A Neuropsychological Evaluation is covered by most health insurance plans, but only based on medical necessity. An intake interview with a physician or a Neuropsychologist can determine medical necessity. The physician or Neuropsychologist can then make a request to have payment authorized by your child’s insurance plan.

In some situations, you can ask your child’s school team to pay for part or all of the Neuropsychological Evaluation through the IEE process. You can also pay for a Neuropsychological Evaluation out-of-pocket. This payment route is appropriate if the questions to be answered are primarily related to your child’s educational needs at school.

What is a Speech/Language Pathologist?

A Speech/Language Pathologist is a specialist who evaluates and treats speech and language disorders.

How will the Speech/Language Pathologist help my child?

The Speech/Language Pathologist can identify whether or not your child’s language skills are at age-level. The Speech/Language Pathologist can make recommendations for how to improve your child’s language skills when they are not at age-level.

What is a Speech/Language Evaluation?

The Speech/Language Evaluation consists of some or all of the following components:

  • A review of your child’s evaluations completed elsewhere
  • A review of your child’s IEP
  • An evaluation of your child’s understanding and ability to use language (vocabulary, grammar and social skills) compared to same-age peers. The evaluation may also include assessing your child's speech production, voice or fluency skills.
  • A written report that describes your child’s language performance. The written report makes recommendations for how other health care professionals and school teams can help improve your child’s speech/language skills.
  • The Speech/Language Evaluation takes approximately 3 hours to complete

What type of follow-up care will the Speech/Language Pathologist provide?

The CCSN Speech/Language Pathologist is not able to provide therapy or follow-up care. You can seek follow-up care and therapy at a center closer to your home. Re-testing on an annual basis can be arranged and is a useful way to monitor your child’s progress.

How do I pay for a Speech/Language Evaluation?

Most insurance plans cover the costs of a Speech/Language Evaluation. In some circumstances, you can ask your child’s school district to cover part or all of the costs of the Speech/Language Evaluation.

What is an Occupational Therapist?

An Occupational Therapist specializes in the evaluation of a child’s fine motor skills (hand skills), visual motor skills (coordination of the hands and the eyes), motor planning, self- regulation (how a child calms and adapts themself to an environment), adaptive skills (self-help skills related to dressing, grooming and feeding), and sensory processing skills (how a child processes what he sees, hears and feels, and produces an appropriate response).

How will the Occupational Therapist help my child?

The goal of the Occupational Therapy Evaluation is to identify performance deficits and needs. Fine motor (hand) skills are needed for self-care skills at home. Fine motor (hand) skills are also needed for handwriting and other tasks at school. The occupational therapist can help decide which types of fine motor skills your child needs to further develop.

What is an Occupational Therapy Evaluation?

An Occupational Therapy Evaluation consists of some or all of the following components:

  • A review of testing done by your child’s school
  • A review of your child’s IEP
  • A review of caregiver questionnaires
  • A direct assessment of your child, including:
    • Fine motor skills
    • Visual motor and visual perception skills
    • Handwriting skills
    • Evaluation activities of daily living
    • Sensory integration / sensory processing skills
  • A report, provided by the Occupational Therapist, that describes your child’s fine motor (hand skills) as well as sensory integration skills if applicable. The report includes recommendations that other professionals can use to help improve your child’s fine motor skills. You can use the report to communicate about your child’s needs with other professionals in the health care system and at your child’s school.
  • The Occupational Therapy Evaluation takes approximately 1-2 hours and occurs over one visit.

What type of follow-up care will the Occupational Therapist provide?

The Occupational Therapist does not provide follow-up care. You can seek follow-up care and therapy at a center closer to your home. Re-testing on an annual basis can be arranged and is a useful way to monitor your child’s progress.

How do I pay for an Occupational Therapy Evaluation?

Most insurance plans cover the cost of an Occupational Therapy Evaluation. In some situations, you can ask your child’s school team to cover part or all of the costs of the Occupational Therapy Evaluation. You can also pay for this evaluation out-of-pocket.

Visit Occupational Therapy at Floating Hospital for Children

What is a Physical Therapist?

A Physical Therapist specializes in the evaluation of gross motor skills or large motor skills.

How will the Physical Therapist (Physiotherapist) help my child?

The Physical Therapist will help your child by evaluating your child’s gross motor skills, which are needed for sitting, standing, walking, running and coordination in sports and other activities. The goal of the Physical Therapy Evaluation includes identifying areas of concern, delay, or dysfunction in a child’s gross motor skills and physical abilities. The role of the Physiotherapist is to help improve your child’s gross motor skills.

What is a Physical Therapy Evaluation?

A Physical Therapy Evaluation consists of some or all of the following components:

  • A review of testing conducted at your child’s school or elsewhere
  • A review of your child’s IEP
  • A review of caregiver questionnaires
  • A direct assessment of your child, including:
  • A written report, provided by the physical therapist, that describes your child’s gross motor function. The report includes recommendations that other professionals can use to help improve your child’s gross motor skills. You can use the report to communicate about your child’s needs with other professionals in the health care system and at your child’s school.
    • Gross motor skills including range of motion and strength of larger muscle groups
    • Balance and coordination
    • Posture
    • Gait on all surfaces, including balance beam and stairs
  • The Physical Therapy Evaluation takes approximately 1-2 hours and occurs over one visit.

How do I pay for a Physical Therapy Evaluation?

Most insurance plans cover the cost of a Physical Therapy Evaluation. In some cases you can ask your child’s school team to cover all or part of the Physical Therapy Evaluation. You can also pay out-of-pocket.

What type of follow-up care does the Physical Therapist provide?

The Physical Therapist does not offer follow-up care, but you can seek out follow-up Physical Therapy services at a location closer to home. Re-testing on an annual basis can be arranged and is a useful way to monitor your child’s progress.