Preschool Screening

graphic of a person talkingThe Scottish Rite Project conducts screenings in various preschool programs in Watauga County. The assessment includes a pure tone hearing screening and a speech/language screening. The target age group for the screening is three to five year olds, although upon request, younger children will be screened informally or by using a parent questionnaire.

Contacting the Preschool Program

Initial contact is made with the director of the preschool program at the beginning of the semester in which the screening is to be done. Parent permission forms along with a brief parent questionnaire are given to the preschool teachers to distribute to the parents during the week before the screening. The preschool teachers provide the supervisor with the list of the children to be screened and their dates of birth. These names will be put on a master list (clinic form). From that list, the screening protocols can be filled out and nametags made for each child prior to the day of the screening.

Training for the Screening

At the beginning of each semester, a short training video is viewed by the assigned students and discussions take place concerning the screening process. Following the training, the team members are required to become familiar with the screening instrument prior to the screening day. It is recommended that everyone involved practice administering the portions of the test for which they are responsible.Graduate students assigned to the team will receive a written reminder from the supervisor at least one week prior to the training concerning the time of departure and the materials needed.

The DIAL-3 Screening

Child undergoing assessmentThe Developmental Indicators of the Assessment of Learning-Third Edition (DIAL-3) is a screening tool used to assess children ages 3-0 through 6-11. It focuses on a child's abilities in the areas of Motor, Concepts, and Language. The DIAL-3 also has a parental questionnaire that allows caregivers to record the child's self-help skills and social development and report any concerns. The Motor, Concepts, and Language areas assess children directly, using performance items. Each area is administered individually and contains six or seven scored items. These items are subdivided into tasks, which sample typical developmental behaviors that children in the age range of 3-0 through 6-11 can demonstrate readily. The screening of all three areas takes approximately 30 minutes.

The results of the DIAL-3 allow the examiner to make one of the following statements about the child:

  • The child's development appears to be delayed when compared with those of the same age group, and further assessment is recommended.
  • The child appears to be developing in a satisfactory manner, and no serious difficulty is foreseen.


After the screening, letters are prepared concerning the results. If a child passes both the hearing and DIAL-3 portions of the screening, then a "pass" letter is indicated. If the child does not pass any or all portions of the screening, then a "referral" letter is indicated. The letters are given to the director of the program for distribution. The director also receives a copy of the master list, and along with the clinical supervisor, is responsible for any follow-up needed.