Denver Test: How Is It Used

A psychological test applied to the evaluation of the development of boys and girls.

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The instruments of psychological evaluation (test) are classified in several ways. Among these criteria we can consider what we want to measure, because we must apply a test that allows us to evaluate exactly what we need.

The Denver test, for example, is an instrument designed to assess and measure psychomotor skills, as well as physical and intellectual development in children. It is applicable in children up to 6 years old.

In this article we will talk about the characteristics of this test, we will see what it allows to measure, and we also review the method of application and correction of this psychological test.

What is the Denver test?

The main objective of the Denver test is to measure the physical, intellectual and psychomotor development abilities of children, to determine if they are in line with their chronological age or if there is a delay in terms of development in one of these areas. It could also happen that there is evidence of answers that are above the population average for children in that age range.

Depending on the results obtained by the infant, then the specialist proceeds to generate a personalized treatment plan for said child, taking into account their individual capacities.

This can translate into a benefit for the evaluated subject, since although it has limitations in a specific area, the test will also show where its strengths are; allows the evaluator to have a broader view of the individual’s particular situation.

Another of the benefits of the Denver test is that it allows specialists to determine the degree of maturation of the Central Nervous System (CNS) since the development of physical, motor and intellectual skills is a faithful reflection of the development of this system.

This tool was designed based on the standards of children with adequate maturity in terms of the areas evaluated by the test; This establishes clear scales in terms of said abilities and the evolutionary development in infants.

In other words, it allows corroborating if the development is taking place correctly taking into account the population mean. In addition to this, it is efficient to follow the subjects, and it could be applied after a while to determine the progress in the case.

What exactly does this test measure?

The Denver test is designed based on four specific areas, which are divided into 55 reactive items. Let’s see how this is.

1. Personal social area

Allows measuring the relationship of the child in terms of the environment that surrounds him; that is, the way in which it develops within the scope of the social.

2. Fine motor area

This area focuses on the level of precision an infant can have, accurately evaluating fine movements, which involve concentration, coordination, and subtle manual skills. For example, draw or write.

3. Language area

This part of the test is responsible for determining how is the language learning process in the child, as well as their ability to listen, and communication in general terms.

4. Area of ​​gross motor

Unlike the fine motor, the gross motor represents all those movements of a more imprecise nature, which imply a greater degree of coordination of the whole body. For example, paint a picture or throw a baseball.

Method of application of this test

Now let’s see what is the correct way to apply the Denver test in our children population. In the first place rapport must be established with the child, so that he trusts us and remains calm.

It must be done in a controlled environment, where unforeseen interruptions do not occur. The application is of an individual nature, and to help the child feel calm and in confidence, the ideal is for parents or caregivers to be present during the application process.

Although the instrument consists of 55 reactive items, as we mentioned earlier, the child must respond only to those who are on the left of the line of his age.

Initial step

The evaluator will draw a line that unites the four scales of the instrument with the chronological age of the infant (fine motor, gross, language, and social area).

Second step

It is necessary to carefully observe the subject during the response process and take note of the significant aspects during the time it takes to answer the exam, which would be the following:

  • Verify that the child carries out the tasks that correspond to him.
  • Verify if the child fails to perform a task that 90% of children of his age do.
  • Note if the child stops doing a task but still has time to do it later, which is atypical in the population of this age.
  • In case the child does not want to collaborate, it will be tried in the next session.

Necessary materials

These are the materials necessary for a correct application of the Denver test. If you do not have exactly the ones mentioned below, you could replace the missing one with another one with the same characteristics.

  • Balls of thread.
  • Bell.
  • Tennis ball.
  • Marbles
  • Rattle.
  • Bottle with screw cap.
  • Graphite pencil.
  • 8 cubes of 23 mm.

Interpretation of the data

Bearing in mind that this is not an intelligence test, you should avoid classifying children in this aspect. We will only review and evaluate if they comply with the activities that the population average of children of their age are capable of doing.

Based on that and taking into account the specifications of the manual, the specialists issue a diagnostic impression.

The personal factors of the child must be taken into account at the time of application, such as if he slept well the night before, if he has eaten well before the session, or if he feels anxious and scared during the evaluation process.