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

Contact UVM © 2014 The University of Vermont - Burlington, VT 05405 - (802) 656-3131