Online Program

″Oh, don't worry, he'll grow out of it″: Parent-provider communication and concerns about child development

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Melissa Raspa, PhD, RTI International
Julia Kish-Doto, PhD, MS, RTI International, Rockville, MD
Ina Wallace, PhD, RTI International
Denise Levis, PhD, National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilites, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Katie Green, MPH, CHES, National Center for Birth Defects and Development Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Parents are in the best position to observe their child's development and to notice developmental concerns. They often turn to their health care provider for guidance. CDC's ″Learn the Signs. Act Early.″ campaign aims to improve early identification of developmental disabilities by educating parents of young children about the importance of monitoring developmental milestones and talking with their child's health care provider regularly about their child's development. To identify methods to facilitate parents' role in early identification of developmental delay, we assessed (1) parental awareness, knowledge, and information needs about identifying potential developmental delays; (2) parental attitudes and beliefs about child development; and (3) parental action in response to developmental concerns. Methods: We conducted 11 focus groups with parents (n=74) of young children diagnosed with developmental delays in speech, cognition, social skills, physical development, and autism. Qualitative analyses summarized parent responses into themes. Results: Specific to parents' challenges and successes in seeking help for their children, parents described two types of providers: facilitators and monitors. Facilitators often asked about the child's development and progress and acted quickly to refer the child and family to a specialist. Monitors did not discuss the child's development regularly with parents and were more likely to say "wait and see" when the parent expressed a concern, potentially delaying needed evaluation and intervention services. Conclusion: Parents perceive that their child's health care provider has an influential role in addressing developmental concerns, and the approach taken by the provider leads to earlier or delayed access to services.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify three reasons for delayed screening and testing of children with potential developmental delays. Describe how parents are communicating with their providers about concerns regarding their child’s development. List four common parent practices for early identification of childhood developmental delays.

Keyword(s): Children With Special Needs, Communication

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the RTI project advisor and was directly involved in the design of the research study and summary report.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.