- First Meeting with Family
- First Meeting with Child
- Moving Forward with Family & Child
- Suggested Process Timelines
- Child Entry Form
- 3 Month Follow-Up Form Instructions
- 3 Month Follow-Up Form Child
- Caregiver Support
- Caregiver Support Follow-Up Form
- Observing Teaching Sessions
- Quality Guidelines: Caregiver Meeting
- Assessment of Child's Physical and Social Skill Development
Our first opportunity to intervene is in the first meeting, as we are learning about a child from the family. When a family walks in with a child, take time to really connect with them and their child. Comment on the child’s clothes, smile, beautiful little fingers – whatever truly strikes you as lovely. Especially when the child is young and the families are in the process of discovery of all that is wrong, it is very supportive for them to see a professional who connects with the child as a person before even asking about concerns, reports or impairment.
As an intervener, you would like to know about the birth history, the details of medical examinations and treatment and the developmental history. You would need to learn about family concerns and priorities as well as details about their routines, resources and needs. Rather than following a prepared list of questions, engage the families in conversation, keeping quick notes under the different main headings as the information comes out from their stories. Although this seems disorganized, it is actually very effective because:
- The family will relax and see you as someone who cares about them as well as their child.
- You will learn unexpected things that you would have never thought to ask about.
- You will get information about attitudes and beliefs held by the members of the family.
Throughout the conversation, ensure that you follow the principles of “active listening” where you are really paying attention, respecting their opinion, however bizarre, and encouraging their conversation. The points in the Caregiver Meeting Quality Indicator form will help you keep the key elements of active listening in mind.
You may move on from a conversation with the families to a direct interaction with the child. At all times, creating a relationship with the child is the first step and of paramount importance. If it looks as if this may not seem possible in this visit, have the parent or someone familiar with the child play under your guidance and make your observations. Make sure to talk about some of the positive things that you are seeing and when mentioning an area of concern, always talk also about what can be done.
Parents must leave this first conversation feeling that their concerns have been heard and understood and their needs respected. They must also leave understanding something more about their child, the belief that something can change, that they can be a part of how that change is brought about and with at least one strategy to help their child. This may seem impossible, but a good intervener who has listened and observed well can certainly use their own experience and knowledge to provide families with at least one small thing that will address a problem faced by the child or family.
At the end of the conversation, ensure that you thank parents or comment on their ideas and statements so they realize that their sharing has helped you understand the child better and get ideas that may be helpful in supporting the child’s development and learning. Include new information in the child’s file and intervention plan as appropriate.