Module 4: Talking with Parents

Lesson One is Dr. Debra Vigil covering how to talk to parents. You will hear specific ideas and pointers in how to approach a parent when you have concerns.

Lesson Two is a video of a couple of scripted interactions of an early childhood education teacher talking with a parent. One of the vignettes is with a parent who readily accepts the teacher’s feedback. The second vignette involves a parent who has a difficult time accepting that anything is wrong with her child. We want to emphasize that it’s worthwhile saying something about the child’s delay even though the parent wasn’t ready to hear. The provider was flexible and made a plan for the child to be re-screened in the future. Furthermore, the provider will work with the child on those areas of concern. Although the parent wasn’t ready to take the child for further assessment, we think it was still a success because the parent agreed to another screening and to individualize the child’s curriculum.

Lesson Three is a tip sheet that was developed by the Centers for Disease Control entitled ‘Tips for Talking with Parents’. It is nice information for you to have as it is based on facts. You can download the fact sheet from the CDC’s Learn the Signs Act Early website ( The website has very useful information and a lot of resources that you can use. For example, you can order free materials about development. It has videos showing children at different stages of development. It also has a free training for early childhood educators entitled ‘Watch Me Grow’.

Lesson Four is an interview with a parent who experienced some difficulty getting the help that she needed for her child. This is the reason why we would like you to consider speaking with a parent when you have concerns about a child’s development. It’s a remarkable story of a parent’s journey attempting to get help for her child. She saw pediatricians who didn’t listen to her concerns. She explains how it made her feel about her own possible failing as a parent and how the system failed her. She also has some positive things to say in her encounter with professionals. We think this is important for you to see as you may get a parent who has concerns. We’re hoping that that after you watch this you will have a deeper understanding for a parent’s experience and have that empathy for emotions that parents go through at each stage of the process. You might get an idea of how you can help a parent as they start thinking of the possibility of their child having some developmental problems.