Concerned About a Child

Sharing Your Concerns

Sharing information about a child’s development with colleagues, supervisors, home visitors or parents is a sensitive and sometimes difficult task. Make sure to have several concrete examples of the child’s behaviour to refer to during the conversation. To learn more about observations refer to the ELECT Framework under the section Assessment, Evaluation and Monitoring.

Here are a few tips to make it easier:

  • Observe the child in various situations & activities.
  • Use more than one observer where possible, since a second pair of eyes is often helpful.
  • Record observations: date and describe behaviour.
  • Remember to note both the child’s strengths and challenges.
  • Compare your observations to the First Words Communication Milestones.
  • Complete the First Words Communication Checkup as a professional and use the results in your discussion with the family.

Your relationship with families is an important part of caring for children. Once you’re ready to approach the family, remember:

  • Choose the right time and place. The rush at drop off or pick up might not allow for enough time and individual attention. Make an appointment to speak privately.
  • Ask the family about their observations and if there are any concerns.
  • Share your observations and provide information about milestones.
  • Use simple, clear words; describe behaviour.
  • Allow parents time to take in the information and respond.
  • Listen to the parent.
  • Remember that opinions may differ.
  • Reassure parents: remind them that 10% of all preschool aged children have speech and/or language delays and there are things that they can do to help their child.
  • Provide information on how to access Ottawa First Words services either by referring families to the  First Words Services section of the website or by calling 613-PARENTS.
  •  Encourage families to complete the Communication Checkup.
  • Respect that parents are the decision makers for their children.

Remember: parents go at their own pace – don’t give up if parents don’t act right away, keep supplying information and support!