VT-ILEHP Autism Learning Resources
How to approach a parent when there is a concern for developmental delay
· Begin by listening to the parents’ concerns.
· When warning signs are observed, make sure to document them by describing what you see.
· Provide tangible examples to present to the parents, using their own words and examples when possible
· Mention positive behaviors in addition to those which are concerning.
· Provide parents with a map of developmental milestones and use this to track their child’s difficulties (http://www.autismspeaks.org/whatisit/talking_to_parents_action_kit.php or http://www.CDC.gov/actearly)
· Focus on specific areas of challenge; for example, identify particular language skills you would expect that the child is not demonstrating
· Emphasize that early action can provide much better results.
· Have resources available for suggesting next steps:
o Suggest scheduling an appointment with a developmental pediatrician who screens for Autism and developmental delays;
o Have names and phone numbers available of early intervention programs through the local school district;
Some other things to be aware of:
· Remind parents that you are not making a diagnosis, just raising concerns because expected developmental milestones have not been observed.
· Avoid using the word ‘normal’, instead focusing on typical and atypical developmental signs.
· Home behavior may be different than child care behavior
· Some parents, for whom this may be their first child, might not be aware of developmental milestones.
· This may be the first time a parent has been made aware of a concern.
· Reinforce that most behaviors observed a part of their child’s complex neurobiological system.
Last modified July 12 2010 02:07 PM