Familiar Challenge 3: Challenging Parents

Scenario #1:

Your small practice serves mostly well-educated, middle class or above families, who tend to be anxious about their children’s development. You already get more calls than you can handle about ADHD, autism, and sleep problems. With routine developmental screening, now parents are filling the page with lists of worries.

Response Strategies:

Recognize that:

  • Tools help organize parent concerns that are there already
  • Upfront discussions prevent door knob comments
  • Tools help identify needs early, enabling more effective intervention
  • Putting referral systems in place can streamline responses
  • For families without concerns whose children are developing typically, the tool saves time

Scenario #2:

Your large practice serves an inner city, high-risk population with poor access to services, low parental education rates, and frequent “no-shows.” Parents tend to endorse no concerns, or they endorse developmentally inappropriate concerns.

Response Strategies:

Recognize that:

  • Your clinical observations are always vital
  • Regular screening may increase parent awareness
  • Screening at every well-child visit may catch those who don’t show for a portion of well child checks
  • Even children with false positives may be a higher risk group
  • Inappropriate sounding concerns may mask more subtle but real developmental issues
  • Most children are fine!