Parents who think their young children may have developmental or learning problems can get a free professional evaluation of their preschooler this fall at special clinics sponsored by the Montgomery County Public Schools.

A child could have a handicap or delay in normal development, school officials say, if the child exhibits any of the following signs: not looking toward voices or strange sounds by 6 months of age, frequently rubbing eyes or complaining of pain, not following simple directions by age 2, not saying the names of a few toys or persons by age 2, not speaking short sentences or being understood by 2 1/2 years of age and having difficulty walking, hopping or throwing, compared to others of the same age.

"Parents should pay attention to their intuition in these matters because they know their child best," said Patricia Edmister, coordinator of Child Find, the schools' effort to help children who may have developmental or learning problems.

Free screening clinics for children 2 1/2 to 4 years old will be held Oct. 1 at East Silver Spring Elementary School, 631 Silver Spring Ave., Silver Spring; Oct. 7, Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Dr., Rockville; Oct. 22, Rosemont Elementary School, 16400 Alden Ave., Gaithersburg; and Nov. 5, Lynnbrook Elementary School, 8001 Lynnbrook Dr., Bethesda.

Screening for children from 3 months to 2 1/2 years old will be held Oct. 29 at the Educational Services Center in Rockville.

Appointments for screenings and assistance with transportation may be made by calling 279-3463. Hearing impaired people may call TTY 279-3323.