Comments from agencies using the DISC

From Wendy Roberts, MD, FRCPC Director, Child Development Centre
University of Toronto

Marian Mainland
DISC Consultant
3727 Lobsinger Line
St. Clements Ontario
N0B 2M0

You asked for information about the use of the DISC in identifying the needs of pre-schoolers from a developmental perspective.

We have been using the DISC at the Hospital for Sick Children in the Child Development Centre and in the Developmental Consultation Clinics in Paediatric Medicine or the General Paediatric Clinic for approximately the last l0 years. We have found it a very useful tool to be used by paediatric residents and fellows, as well as by nurses in our clinical setting. I have also had feedback from Early Childhood Educators and Public Health Nurses in the community who use it on a regular basis.

We have found the DISC to be a comprehensive screening tool both to identify children who are delayed in their development, as well as to monitor developmental progress and facilitate the development of programming for children who are involved in different pre-school settings. It is helpful to be able to describe to parents the levels at which their children are working in the various areas. It is helpful within areas of function to have the separation between receptive and expressive language, fine and gross motor skills, as well as visual and auditory attention and memory, We have found the latter two items to be particularly helpful in picking up children who may be at risk for ongoing learning and attention problems, although their overall cognitive ability may be grossly within the average range.

Although the DPS screen has been used in out Neonatal follow-up Clinic and General Paediatric Clinics to identify children under the 25th percentile who would benefit from having the full DISC, we have not found it is helpful for our paediatric trainees because it does not identify the specific areas of delay therefore, it does not give as good a description of the child's profile for our trainees who are just learning how to describe the different areas of a child's developmental functioning.

Practitioners in the paediatric community have also reported finding the DISC done by Public Health Nurses and Early Childhood Educators of very real benefit to them as they obtain reports about the child's progress when assessed either in the day-care setting or in the child's home. The reports enable them to identify reasons for making specific referrals to other professionals such as speech or rehabilitation therapists.

I hope that this information will be helpful, and I would be happy to discuss our use of the D1SC further with anybody involved or interested.


Wendy Roberts, MD, FRCPC
Developmental Paediatrician
Director, Child Development Centre
Associate Professor, Paediatrics
University of Toronto


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